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Episode 151: Forming Habits for Your Family and Yourself (w/ Justin Whitmel Earley)

By July 18, 2022January 3rd, 2023Podcast

We all have habits in our life, both good and bad. In the words of today’s guest, “Our habits don’t change God’s love for us, but God’s love for us should change our habits.” Today I’m talking with Justin Whitmel Earley, a lawyer, speaker, and author of both Habits of Household and The Common Rule, and he knows a thing or two about creating habits. When it comes to our own life, intentional habits help form our heart towards the things that are most important. When it comes to our family, intentional habits communicate to our family what they should value and how they should spend their time.

As you likely know, intentionality in our lives doesn’t have to happen through “big” things; instead, a life of intentionality is formed by how we approach ordinary, every-day moments like mealtimes, bedtimes, and discipline. Today, Justin and I talk about how he has recovered from a distracted life, why it’s so hard for us to slow down today, how to form and stick with new habits, and so much more. I loved our conversation and I can’t wait to share it with you!


1. Your habits communicate (and change) your priorities.

Some of the most important habits we can have help us connect with God in a deeper way. We appreciated Justin’s simple focus on a daily habit like “Scripture before phone.” Not only does a habit like this daily remind us of the type of life we want to live, but it also communicates to our family each day that our connection with God is top priority. What do your habits communicate?

“Habits change way more than our schedules. They change our hearts.”

2. Change occurs a little at a time.

If you want to make a big change in your life, you need to start small. Habits are formed by being consistent in small things. This can apply to a personal habit like flossing your teeth or to a big habit like making a child feel like they are loved and cared for in your home. Start with something small like always greeting your child in the morning with a smile, or starting each morning with prayer, then build from there. We have to start small to build something big!

“We care about little rhythms because the little things become the big things.”

3. We need a community in order to stick to a habit.

One of the keys to making a positive change in life is accountability. This is so true for the whole foster care journey, and we appreciated that Justin addressed this. You are far more likely to go to the gym if you have a partner that is committed to working out as well. In the same way, to build a habit, we need to have a community around us to check on our progress and cheer us on. If you have a new habit you want to start forming, who can you ask to help keep you accountable? Or who might be interested in building that habit alongside you?

“We need to pick one habit and a friend to ask us about that habit.”


We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

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Meet Our Guest

Justin Whitmel Earley is a lawyer, author, and speaker from Richmond, VA. He is the author of Habits of the Household and The Common Rule. Justin frequently speaks at businesses and legal events on habits, technology, and mental health; and at churches and conferences on habits, spiritual formation, and parenting. In addition to running his own business law practice under the Earley Legal Group, Justin also has a degree in English Literature and spent four years living in Shanghai, China. His most cherished role is that of husband and dad. He likes to challenge his four young boys to a wrestling match in his spare time.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

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