Although there’s not one magic number for how long it takes to form a new habit as this book summary explains, one thing is for sure: Most of us start out a new year wanting to commit to some kind of positive change!
Eating healthier, working out more, cutting back on caffeine, reading certain books… The range of new habits we want to form is as varied as we are, and some of these are easier than others.
But while all of those types of habits will help to make you a better, healthier person, let’s talk about some ways to make you a safer person too, with some personal safety habits you can easily develop in 2017, and stick with for the rest of your life.
What is a habit? A habit is a regular tendency or practice. By making at least of few of the 10 suggestions below into habits this year, you will reduce your risk, to your property, yourself, your identity and more.
Safety habit 1: Lock all doors and windows all the time. This applies to your house, but also to your car and to your outbuildings like your garage and shed. And it means every door and every window, including upstairs windows and sliding glass doors. And it applies even when you’re home but perhaps in the backyard working in the garden, when you should at least lock the front door.
Safety habit 2: Change your passwords often and effectively. Americans are woefully pathetic about using safe passwords and woefully lazy about changing them. Protect your data and your identity with the easy-to-follow advice here, complete with a suggested system. (I followed these tips and I am now much better about my passwords!)
Safety habit 3: Make it look like someone is home. Although it’s not guaranteed to deter a burglar, making a house look occupied can help. Use automated lighting, either with timers or using your home security system. Keep a car in the driveway. Have a neighbor pick up packages. Close curtains on the ground level so no one can see in your windows.
Safety habit 4: Keep valuables out of sight. In our house, certain members of the family have a bad habit of leaving wallets and purses on the table in the front window. No, no, no, no. If it’s a temptation, make sure it can’t be seen through the window. This applies to your home and to your car.
Safety habit 5: Keep shrubs trimmed. Cut back any trees or shrubs that provide cover for burglars, then make it a habit to keep them trimmed. This means around your house and around any outbuildings someone might be tempted to break into.
Safety habit 6: Keep some information private. It’s shocking to me how much information people will share on social media, information that puts them at risk such as not being home, or having a spouse gone for a length of time, or being home alone, or leaving kids home alone. Social media is a public forum, no matter your privacy settings. If the public shouldn’t know about it, don’t post about it. Make it a habit to think about this before posting.
Safety habit 7: Postpone going public with your vacation photos. Sure, you want to get those photos posted on Facebook so everyone to know how much fun you’re having, but their jealousy can wait until you’re safely home again. Ditto for geotagging your photos.
Safety habit 7: Keep gas in your tank. This sounds like commonsense but let’s be honest here: How many of us have driven with the fuel light on in the last month? That’s dangerous. Any number of things could go wrong, and we’d be at risk because of a lack of gas. A neighbor once shared with me that he fills up his gas tank every Sunday after church, no matter how much or little gas he needed. Now that’s a good habit!
Safety habit 8: Protect yourself from identity theft by making these tips into regular habits.
Safety habit 9: Keep reading this blog! Bookmark it or look for the latest posts on Facebook, for weekly tips to improve your home and personal security.
Finally, consider investing in a home security system, if you haven’t already. It’s the one safety habit you won’t have to think about all year!