Loving God, loving others, and loving yourself isn’t an event or achievement. It happens because you develop a lifestyle where you habitually invest in love. Around here, we call this lifestyle your life rhythm.
Enhancing your life rhythm can be tough because it requires you to change your habits. If you want to make these new habits stick, here are two principles you should apply.
PRINCIPLE #1: START (EMBARASSINGLY) SMALL
I’m guessing that you already know it’s easier to make small changes, as opposed to big ones. But often, we aren’t starting small enough.
We get a vision for how we want to live, and we want to live that way today. So, we try to change too fast.
Or, we underestimate how difficult change can be. That causes us to take a first step that’s simply too hard to maintain.
The only way I’ve been able to avoid these pitfalls is to start so small it embarrasses me. For example, I want to make playing with my kids a bigger part of my daily rhythm. It allows me to connect with them, in their world.
But as a busybody, it’s hard for me to think about sitting down for 10-15 minutes to play something that feels boring (yes, I’m just going to admit it).
So, I don’t commit to playing with my kids right now. I simply commit to sitting down where my kids are playing. That’s it. Sit. Down.
It’s embarrassing to say because it’s so ridiculous. Yet it’s the perfect small commitment because it’s truly the first step.
And the results? I usually end up enjoying a few minutes of play with my kids. Or, I just get to watch and enjoy this season when they’re little people.
So, think about what you want to do. Then, find the smallest step you can to move in that direction. That’s the right habit for your rhythm.
PRINCIPLE #2: PLAN FOR IMPERFECTION
Creating a rhythm is easier than living it out. When we forget this, we can be blind to our expectation for perfection.
The easiest way to tell if you’re expecting perfection is to see what you do the first time fail to live out your planned rhythm. Do you show yourself grace and start over tomorrow? Or do you use it as a license to throw in the towel?
Writer Jon Acuff says, “You will not be perfect…Do you know what will serve you far longer than perfectionism ever could? Moving forward imperfectly. Reject the idea that the day after perfect means you’ve failed. That’s just not true. You get to try again.”
So, expect to “fail” at keeping your rhythm, and start fresh each day.
This is one reason the habit tracking tool in the Abide & Focus Planner is on the weekly spread, and not the monthly focus plan. We want to give you a chance to see a clean slate each week. It also lets you revise your habits from week to week, in the event you need to take a smaller step.
Small, imperfect progress is part of Christian living. So, give yourself permission to slowly build a rhythm for loving well.