Being the best father you can depend on many factors, and some of those factors means that you have to develop the best habits for being a great father.
Some habits such as paying attention to your children are fairly obvious, right?
Looking much deeper past the surface of the obvious, I’ve compiled a list of 18 deal-breaking habits that impede any man from reaching his goal to be the best damn dad out there.
The following 18 habits will certainly change not only your life but also the life of your children as well.
Some suggestions may or may not be something you would want to give up, after all, life is all about choices.
I also believe that variety is the spice of life, so even if you adopt half of my suggestions I believe you will certainly be on the right track.
You’ll notice that this is, for the most part, a list of everyday tasks.
Responsibilities that, executed once on their own are insignificant, however, when implemented regularly with control, yield life-changing results that can be measured in as little as 60 – 90 days.
Amazingly, in a year’s time, you could be a whole new dad unrecognizable to your children and spouse.
What exactly are the golden 18 habits you should be practicing if your goal is to be the best dad out there?
- Give back to your community and the world
- Jot down everything positive about your day every day
- Don’t focus on things out of your control
- Meditate on the next day
- Do Fun Things
- Procrastination is the enemy of time
- Don’t feel bad about saying no.
- Don’t go to bed angry
- Make time for your children
- Learn from your kids
- Set aside 1 hour per day on your goals
- Limit social media
- Stop checking your phone every 30 minutes
- Limit television & Video Games
- Nourish your mind every day
- Cook your own food
- Exercise at least twice per week
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
Clearly, there are a lot of great habits you should be doing, so let’s take a moment and unpack each one and see what it all means for fatherhood. Sounds good?
Give Back To Your Community, And The World:
There are many ways a person can be a successful father, but I believe one of the best things a dad could do is to teach their child the importance of giving back to not only your community but the world in general.
By teaching your children the importance of giving back to society, you are essentially teaching them some valuable life lessons such as humility, empathy, and generosity to name a few.
The good news is that you really don’t have to pick up and travel to some far-away land to contribute back. You could easily give back by volunteering your time at your local food bank, giving to your favorite charities, or any type of community advocacy movement that makes sense to you and your child.
I would stress, however, not to get too caught up with what you feel passionate about. Rather, get your kid’s input on the matter as well so you can turn this experience into a chance to bond with one another as well.
Jot Down Everything Positive About Your Day:
In this age of stress, it’s easy to get over-consumed with all the chaos we face on an almost daily basis.
We have traffic jams to contend with, competition at the workplace, bills and mortgage payments, health and money issues, and the list of problems can go on and on.
Is it any wonder why many of us are so consumed with the stress that we think and act in a negative fashion like we are destined to fail or just struggle to get by?
I’m not sure about your situation, but I know for many years into my adult life I was so consumed with the negativity around me that I found myself talking negatively to my children as well.
I read somewhere years ago about the idea of writing down only the positive things about your day such as interactions with folks, and other little things that make you feel good.
By retraining your thoughts, your actions will manifest itself in a positive manner to those around you, and your appreciation for the little things in life will rub off on your children as well.
Don’t Focus On Things Out Of Your Control:
You may be wondering what the connection is on focusing on things out of your control and being a great father is.
It’s a fair question indeed…
However, if you take a moment and consider the strong mind-body connection and how our thought impacts our actions, then it’s easy to see how this can easily rub off on your children and those around you.
Moreover, not only do children feel the stress oozing from your veins, but they potentially could model such behavior as well, making them impressionable and more likely to grow up believing sweating the small stuff is the best course of action.
Meditate On The Next Day:
Another great hack that can surely double any dedicated dad’s productivity – that, in turn, translates into more quality time for your children – is to write down all the things you need to do in the evening or at night so that you’re mind is in a position to take action the following day opposed to a reactionary mindset.
Bottom line? You’ll be way less stressed, and your productivity will go through the roof.
Do Fun Things Often:
Life can be challenging and oftentimes it takes a level of seriousness to get through the rough patches in order to keep plowing forward.
That said, it also takes a level of adventurousness to keep a sane mind resilient to the stress it encounters on a daily basis.
One of the best things you could bestow on your child is a sense of adventure, yes, but you also want to demonstrate through action that there’s a time to be serious, and at times it’s okay to let loose and just enjoy life to the max.
One of the earlier mistakes I made with my first daughter was that I was serious way too much most days of the week, and I believe my daughter resented me for it, looking back in hindsight.
Procrastination Is The Enemy Of Time:
One of the worst tragedies that hold a man back is their inability to move forward towards their dreams of becoming successful anything.
If you’re a procrastinator and you procrastinate often then you most likely – if being honest – hard a tremendous amount of difficulty getting things done in a timely fashion (if at all)
Procrastination not only affects you, but it affects your children as well.
From a series of false promises, children mentally document all the times you “lied” to them about plans or activities that simply did not materialize one way or another.
And the worst part of all this is?
You very well could be teaching them on a subconscious level that broken or late promises are as natural as baseball and apple pie.
Don’t Feel Bad About Saying No:
Accomplishing new things is impossible if you aren’t able to say no to a party, or a dinner, one more beer, or a piece of cake or any other number of things that most people feel obligated to do because of social pressure. When you can say no with confidence – you’ve officially become your own boss.
Naturally, this translates into an excellent learning experience for your child who sees a father not afraid to take life by the horns and control the environment around them.
The last thing you want to do is contribute to your child growing up scared of their own shadow.
Don’t Go To Bed Angry:
Going to bed angry is a terrible habit, not only does it affect your sleep but it also has a lasting effect on the person who perturbed you the night before.
And I’m sure I don’t have to remind you about the terrible effects stress produces on your body.
I’m willing to bet that if you’re the type of person who allows stress to take over your life while consuming you while you sleep, then it is probably likely that you do this to your children as well.
Not only are you putting yourself at risk from the ravages of stress and chronic health, but you are also placing your children at risk as well.
It’s always a good habit to make amends with that particular person you are arguing with before heading off to bed for the night.
Make Time For Your Children:
Honestly, this is one area I shouldn’t even have to mention let alone explain. Surprisingly, there are still dads out there – single or otherwise – that believe children have the capacity to pretty much raise themselves.
Children are not like plants, they require more than plant food, sunlight, and water to reach their full potential mentally.
One common mistake I see among lazy dads is putting them in front of a television with the expectation that the TV will do the job of parenting for them.
If your goal is to be the best damn dad you can be, I suggest you focus more on building lasting memories through play, learning, and activities opposed to allowing them to always watch the television.
Learn From Your Kids:
Most of us are aware that in order to teach children we have to lead by example, and often this is done through direct hands-on learning. And thankfully, kids are like sponges that enjoy when we give them an ounce of attention to things that make them feel valued, smart, and loved unconditionally.
As dads, we often get caught up in being a parent. We forget what it’s like for our children to teach us what they learn, and they certainly have a lot to offer.
If you ask your child to teach you anything that they know – whether you taught them the skill or not – they will eagerly accommodate.
Children innately enjoy pleasing parents, but it goes much deeper than just that….
Having children explain to you in an interactive fashion also forces them to break down what they know therefore reinforcing what they already know on a much deeper level while providing an invaluable opportunity to bond with you in the process.
Set Aside 1 Hour Per Day On Your Goals:
One of the most valuable things a person can do is set aside at least 1 hour per day on your goals. After all, when you drive forward on a daily basis to reach your goals – fitness, education, home business – it really doesn’t matter – as long as you are doing something valuable that enhances your life.
As a teachable lesson to your children, it allows them to model your exact behavior that, in turn, educates them on the values of goal-setting and perseverance – all great qualities of a successful outcome.
Limit Social Media:
I know this is a tough one considering the digital age and the time we live in.
Although I don’t advocate for a complete ban on social media, that would be unrealistic. What I think is a teachable lesson is to instruct your kids by leading by example that it’s important to limit social media and not get too caught up in this virtual mess…
The last thing you want your kids to think about is when their next Facebook post will be or feeling compelled to change an Instagram posting because they are not up-to-date with the latest trends.
Sadly, we live in a world that now revolves around the artificial we call virtual communities where whatever we say goes unchallenged.
Sadly, all this social media and virtual pleasing can cause a tremendous amount of depression and possible suicide due to negative factors such as cyberbullying.
Stop Checking Your Phone Every 30 Minutes:
If you work a job where you absolutely need to remain connected to the office through your phone you get a pass, but checking it every 30 minutes is a bit excessive if you’re not dealing with some type of crisis situation.
For everyone else: stop checking your phone every 30 – 60 minutes – especially when your kids are around.
By doing so you have more time to bond with your kids without allowing your mind to focus on social media, sports, and other trivial things that pollute the mind.
Kids imitate the world around them, so unless you want them to turn into zombies with a smartphone I would seriously limit their exposure to them.
Limit Television And Video Games:
With all the distractions that come through our modern lifestyle and technological dependence on entertainment, is it any wonder why childhood obesity has developed into an alarming trend throughout the globe.
If you value your children and their overall health and wellbeing, you will curtail the use of television and video games to 2 hours on the weekend and maybe 1 hour weekdays after they have completed their homework.
It’s important to note that they initially may fight you every step of the way, so replace its use with some quality time among yourselves.
As they get older, they will remember the time you took to bond with them, not how many zombies they killed with their PS3.
Nourish Your Mind Everyday:
Books, Magazines, blog content, the important thing to remember is that you should be reading educational content each and every day.
Discover how to become the absolute best you can be.
If you take the time to learn new ways to earn money, perfect a hobby, communicate with your kids better, discover things your kids are actually interested in, you will not only increase your chance of a perfect bonding experience but you will also teach them that it’s okay to be smart.
Life is much more than television and video games!
Cook Your Own Food:
In a world that’s fast-paced and built around convenience, it has now become uncommon that most people still cook their own food.
The proof is in the pudding.
Line up after line up in every major fast-food establishment only reinforces the notion that the average, everyday guy not only cannot cook his own meals, but they are unwilling to do so.
Many of these same guys complain that they simply don’t have the time to cook.
I cite laziness as the real reason considering it literally takes only 20 – 25 minutes to cook a nutritious dinner.
And lunch? How hard is it to put together a sandwich, apple sauce, a piece of fruit and a juice box?
Not only will you and your children eat more nutritiously, but cooking together makes for a wonderful bonding experience as you teach your son or daughter how to grow up to become independent adults.
Exercise At Least 3 Times Per Week:
If you are one of those dads who has convinced themselves that you simply don’t have the time to get in shape and improve your odds of living a longer life, this part is for you.
The first thing you need is some motivation to live a longer, healthier life where playing with your kids doesn’t need to be a painful experience on your joints.
Even if you’re not overly motivated, if you can muster – and I know you can – 20 minutes 3 times per week you can definitely benefit immensely from an exercise program.
Speaking of the benefits there are many reasons how you can benefit from physical dedication.
- Reduces body fat
- Increases lifespan
- Manages chronic pain
- Wards off viruses
- Reduces cancer risks
- Improves complexion
- Decreases stress
And there are literally dozens of more reasons….
The bottom line is that a little exercise performed even at a moderate pace will go a long way in helping you live a longer and happier life.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff:
If it’s one thing I learned the heard way growing up it has been my lack of ability to not sweat the small stuff in life.
I grew up in a house with a mother who was often histrionic in the way she handled us kids and the world around her.
In retrospect, I believe I modeled after her to a much lesser degree, and unfortunately my oldest daughter often witnessed my making a big deal out of things that otherwise should not have been treated like one.
I’m 45 at the time of this writing, and over the last few years, I have managed to greatly improve on my ability to not take life so serious all the time, and often times things will work itself out on their own.
It’s one thing about being an average okay dad, however, if your goal is to become a great father then there are some sacrifices you need to make.
Children learn by example, so if you’re delivering a message contradictory to what you’re doing, then they will not respect what you are teaching them.
Do as I say not as I do comes to mind.
In my opinion, the best way to continue evolving as a dad is by tiny milestones accomplished over a period of time.
Rather than attempting to accomplish all 18 best habits for being a great father, start off with a handful of them then work your way up to a few more – especially if you pretty much starting from scratch.
By starting off slow it’s not really that overwhelming, and pretty soon – within a few months – you will not only feel how your life is transforming, but your kids will notice the difference as they begin incorporating them into their lives as well!
Did I miss anything?
Leave me a comment below if you would like to add anything to the post, and if you have any experiences you would like to share that would be great as well.