Last week I wrote about Resolutions. Did you make any for this new year?
Often, people grow tired of, or frustrated with, making resolutions.
Maybe because they have tried and failed in the past.
Maybe because they have lost the dream.
Actually those two reasons are tied together.
We give up on the dream because we have tried and failed so many times – to continue the charade seems pointless.
But take courage, there is still hope.
Let’s take a close look at Habits, because...
That’s where success or failure comes from.
Habits come from repeated behaviors. Period.
The key to success in creating a habit is Persistence.
Anatomy of a Habit
A habit is the result of you doing, saying, thinking – something - over and over.
I get up in the morning, get dressed, make a hot drink, and sit on the couch in the living room. My digital reader is there where I left it the previous evening. I flip it open and start my Bible app. It opens to the place I bookmarked the previous day. I read for up to 30 minutes, or until I encounter a passage that asks for reflection.
My Habit Experience
That’s automatic for me now, after more than a year of repeating the behavior.
But at first it was a challenge. I wanted to do other things, maybe turn on the TV, maybe read something other than the Bible.
I struggled with creating the habit.
I believe that God wants to spend time with me. When I crowd Him out, He is disappointed.
While I was forming the habit I had to remind myself – often - that God was waiting for me to spend time with Him.
I don’t know how many times I said, “This is important! I won’t disappoint God!”
Repeated and repeated, until it is now a habit.
Whether habits begin in behavior or in thoughts – I’m not sure it matters.
Purposeful habits begin in the thoughts – you make a decision. It’s the will taking action. Making a choice.
Act on that choice repeatedly and you have a habit.
I’m a firm believer in using visual and verbal stimuli to entice a habit.
In my personal example, I placed my Bible where I knew I would see it in the morning. I mentally affirmed my decision, my choice.
It’s okay to verbalize the choice. In fact, I encourage you to say your choice out loud.
Verbalizing increases the strength of the decision by at least two times. The action of speaking reinforces the choice. The action of hearing your words reinforces the decision.
Find pictures that show your choice. Write your choices in a slogan format on paper. Put these reminders around your house, your desk, on the mirror in the bathroom. Frame them to make them look nice. Every time you see one, make the effort to speak the words inside your head, then out loud.
Talk with family and friends about your decision or resolution. This will take courage, because, they will hold you accountable.
These actions work. I have used these habit-forming patterns with myself and my students for years. Their attitudes about learning changed within a month.
Call To Action
Re-visit your New Year Resolutions.
Take one and follow the above advice.
In a month you will have a new habit that will lead you to your goal.
Write to me to tell me about your success in moving toward your resolutions.