700 Days of Habits

“By the time you’re forty, you have the face that you deserve.”

I think I first heard this quote in my late 20’s, when the idea of turning 40 was a train so far in the distance that there was no need to walk off the track.


If God gives me the blessing of life, I will turn 40 in a little over 740 days.

I do not know how the quote was originally intended. There is disagreement about who said it, too. But I understand it to refer to character and habits rather than beauty. If you have been a kind, disciplined person for forty years, your face will reflect that even if you lack stunning beauty.  It definitely does not mean that you can’t change after forty, because plenty of people do!

So, a few days ago I found a piece of graph paper from my husband’s workplace. I marked off 700 boxes. Each day that I complete three important habits, I get to check off a box.

On the side of the graph paper, I marked off the extra 40-ish boxes for the days I do not complete all three habits. I hardly expect myself to make my habits every day. If I make them 700 days, I will be thrilled.

So what are they? Ah, yes. Currently they are:

  1. Pick a Bible verse for each day.
  2. Read something each day (in addition to the Bible).
  3. Plan what I am going to eat the next day and stick to that plan with no binging.

Now, why those three? They are not magic, but I can give you my personal rationale for each.

  1. I have found God’s Word to be the single most powerful thing available to practically keep my heart facing toward God. Choosing a verse for today gives me something to fall back on no matter what happens. You might think that a verse chosen at the beginning of the day could not be relevant in a variety of circumstances throughout the day. You would be surprised!
  2. Reading relaxes and inspires me. I have just rediscovered this about myself. It makes sense since reading was a high priority in my childhood. And, as a writer, I learn by reading.
  3. Since my teenage years, I have struggled with variably frequent binge eating. If I do not make it to 700, it will likely be because of this one. But you know what? With this goal, I know I will be able to mark more squares than if I did not have the goal.

In short, by the time I turn 40, I want to be farther on the path of trusting God, educating myself, and eating healthfully.

If you are blessed with two more years, where do you want to be? You will grow older whether you make goals or not! But with goals, you can grow older, better.

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