I know, I know. This doesn’t sound like me at all, but hear me out.
I just finished reading a fascinating book by Charles Duhigg entitled “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business.” In it, Duhigg studies the science of behavior, focusing particularly on habits. In essence, our entire lives can be summed up by our habits, those things we do incessantly, day in and day out. From brushing our teeth, to the places we shop to the way we eat, sleep, work and play, our habits define us. Good habits, done over a long period of time, have incredible results. Bad habits, even little ones, done over a long period of time can destroy us.
The key to changing your life is to change your habits, but this is easier said than done.
In the book, researchers studied people who underwent radical and enduring lifestyle changes and found that the secret nearly always boiled down to what is known as a single keystone habit.
A keystone habit is a single habit which, when implemented, has a ripple effect on a dozen other areas of life. In other words, we change the MOST when we focus on changing the least. The key is changing that ONE habit that will then ripple out to so many other areas of your life.
So, at the risk of sounding anti-change, may I humbly suggest that you not set goalS for yourself this year. Just focus on ONE goal, that when accomplished, will have the greatest impact on your life.
So where do you start?
I’ve discovered that there are five habits that most affect the Christian life:
1. Attending church and small group weekly.
2. Spending time with God in His Word and prayer daily.
3. Serving in a weekly ministry.
4. Giving back to God at least 10% of my income.
5. Sharing Christ with others by inviting them to church, talking about my faith, and going on mission trips.
Today, these five habits are so deeply ingrained in my lifestyle that they come as second nature. They have shaped who I am and what God has done in my life.
However, they took time to become habits. Years.
So, let me suggest that you first focus all of your energies on number one until it is ingrained in your lifestyle, then move on to #2, then #3 and so on.
If you will do this, then in about 3 or 4 years your ENTIRE LIFE will be radically changed to the glory of God.
Or, you could just set 5-10 goals that you’ll break before February.
May this be the year of real and lasting change in your life!