“STRATEGY” 1: PRAY…OFTEN AND ALWAYS
Y’all, I put strategy in quotes here because prayer isn’t really a strategy. It’s a life essential. We can’t expect deep spiritual growth without the God working in our lives.
Philippians 2:13 tells us God works in us to desire and work for his purposes. Since his greatest desire is for us to love him (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, Matthew 22:36-37); let’s ask him for the motivation, hunger, and power to build habits that continually point our hearts to him.
STRATEGY 2: HABIT STACK
New spiritual habits are easier to implement when something triggers you to do them. One way to trigger a new discipline is to do it before or after something you already do habitually. Here are some examples:
- I recite and meditate on a section of Scripture after I push “brew” on my coffee pot.
- I pause to give God my worries about work before I boot up my computer for the day.
So, what habit are you trying to implement? Now ask yourself, what existing habit could I attach this new discipline to so that it’s easier to make it automatic?
STRATEGY 3: SCHEDULE IT…IN WRITING
If you rely on a planner or digital calendar to keep up with your commitments, scheduling new habits could work for you.
It may feel strange to write “pre-lunch prayer” in your planner. But if you regularly fulfill commitments on your calendar, it makes sense to treat a new habit like a scheduled commitment.
You don’t need to do this forever. Commit to doing this for two weeks, and you may be surprised at how automatic the habit is by the third week.
STRATEGY 4: TRACK IT
You track your habits by visually and physically noting when you perform an action. Think putting an “X” on your calendar when you perform a habit, or putting a marble in a jar.
Habit expert James Clear says tracking habits is effective because it gives you a noticeable win. And noticeable wins motivate us to keep going.
Our ABIDE & FOCUS Planner, include space for tracking habits. If you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can still track your habits on a regular wall calendar, or use the notes section of another planner to create a habit tracking section.
STRATEGY 5: PREP FOR IT
You want new habits to be easy to perform. One way to do this is by preparing your environment for them in advance.
For example, if you want to start reading a devotional first thing in the morning, put the devo book on your bedside table (and charge all other electronics somewhere else!).
If you want to be more engaged with your kids when they get home from school, stash your phone or in-progress projects in a far off room. That way, it’s easier to follow through with your intention.
What habit are you trying to implement to love God or love people? Now ask, what change can I make to my physical space so that it’s easier to build the new habit?
STRATEGY 6: WRITE IT OUT
If a new habit is difficult to perform, writing out the steps or prep plan can make it easier to follow through. Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re trying to implement a family devotional time during dinner, with minimal distractions. Your checklist might look like this:
- Clear kid toys and other distractions from dining area.
- Make sure all needed utensils are on the table.
- Lay devotional book on table.
- Dock phone in a different room.
- Pause and ask God bless your time, before dinner begins.
Could you do a family devotional without this checklist? Sure. But a checklist can help you optimize the environment and your family’s hearts for the experience.
So, what’s been hard to do consistently? How could a checklist like this make it easier to become consistent?
STRATEGY 7: FIND AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
The Bible tells us that two are better than one (Ephesians 2:9-10). We can support and encourage each other. So, find a partner.
This could be someone that you check in with regularly. Even better, it could be someone who wants to set the new habit with you. You can remind each other and share strategy for making the action automatic.
Are you ready to build habits with staying power? Then get a copy of our Make Your Habits Stick Devotional Workbook. It will walk you through 5 principles for habit building, with Scripture applications.