Many people want to develop good habits that will help them live the kind of life God wants them to live. But like many things, if we don’t have someone help us in the process, it doesn’t happen. Many kids come into grade school and want to play ball. But they need a coach to teach them the skills and then drill them in practice so that when they step into the game, they are ready to play. Likewise, if we want to develop and maintain good habits it takes time, effort…and practice.
Here are some ‘tips’ that will help you to take the habits learned in Growth Track 201 (prayer and Bible reading, a life of faith, fellowship with others, living a Spirit-led life, and giving of ourselves) and put them into practice so you can develop spiritually into the person God intends for you to be:
Step One: Desire
You must start with a strong desire and have some internal motivation. Doing something because someone else tells you to will eventually cause you to wear out and to quit. But when you make a decision that you want to do something different, you’ve taken the first step towards a life altering change!
Step Two: Decide
Decide to begin. Lots of people have some level of desire to lose weight, for example, but they always think ‘I’ll start that tomorrow…or next week…or when I can.’ NO! Decide to start right now. You’re reading this blog for a reason, so let it be your starting point, because yo simply don’t slide into a new habit. If you spend time waiting for ‘one of these days’ your life will end and that day will never have arrived, so decide to get started NOW!
Step Three: Declaration
Announce your intentions. Tell a family member or friend. Put it on Facebook and ask others to ask you how you’re doing. If you don’t have anyone to hold you to your decision, then it’s easy to back out of it. But when you declare your intentions to others and let them know, then you have others around you who will help you, encourage you, or at least pay attention to see if you’ll do what you said!
Step Four: Determination
Don’t allow exceptions for your new decision…at least not until it has become a regular habit in your life. For instance, if you decide to start attending church, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever have a Sunday for vacation or to go visit mom. But it’s really not the best idea to decide to start attending church on Friday and then that Sunday say ‘I’m gonna make an exception this weekend so I can do something else.’ Then you’ll find yourself in the pattern of excusing yourself from doing what you’ve committed to. The act of yielding weakens the will and reinforces a lack of self control in our lives. It takes three weeks of doing something to become comfortable with it as a habit, and another three to four weeks for it to become a regular part of your life.
Step Five: Just Do It!
Nike hit the nail on the head here. Whenever you feel the slightest urge or prompting to practice your new habit, DO IT THEN! (except while driving, maybe!) Don’t wait for a better time though. Seize the opportunity because those feelings won’t last.
Step Six: Double Up
Get a partner who will support you and encourage you, and if possible participate with you. Find someone who will hold you accountable and check up on you, especially in the early days before your new habit is rooted in your life.
Step Seven: Depend on God
Rely on God to help you establish the habit. Remember, Satan does not want you to develop habits that help you grow spiritually and make you more like Christ, so he will do all he can to tempt you and distract you or even discourage you. But the Lord promises to lead us, guide us, help us, and give us wisdom as we ask Him…so keep Him involved in the process!
Do you want help developing good habits that will help you grow spiritually? Attend our Growth Track to find out more. Growth Track takes place each Sunday after church and lunch and childcare are provided. You don’t need to wait for a certain time to jump in, so come join us this weekend!