by CATHY HAYNIE
A new year, a new you? Everywhere you look you will find opportunities to improve your life, and finding such advice in overload may keep you set in your ways. Before you dismiss the idea or the opportunity, take a step back. Haggai 1:5 says, “Give careful thought to your ways.” God’s Word is full of opportunity regarding renewal, transformation, and a changed heart through Jesus Christ. Where in your life would God call you to change or to renew?
In 2013, we will begin a series on Transformational Habits. Taking a look at everyday things, from your pantry to your quiet time, there are a few habits that can change the way you approach something even as insignificant as a stocked pantry. I hope you will join us as we consider what those habits might be. We will look at a list of at least five habits for each topic, so that you can pick out one or two difference-makers to try in your own life. To get us started, consider what is required of you to change.
5 TRANSFORMATIONAL HABITS ON THE ART OF CHANGE
1. Recognize the need.
I have found that when I live a more orderly life, I am freed up for other things. For example, if you know what your family is having for dinner tonight, it is easier to have someone join you at the last minute or take something to one who will be blessed by it. I need to stay on top of meal management in order to practice hospitality. With each of our transformational habit topics, consider your own needs and how change will be of great benefit.
2. Consider your options.
I’ve said it often: the best way to get a good idea is to get a lot of ideas. You don’t have to do everything an article suggests to eat healthier, for example, but one or two new habits can truly be life changing. Find as many options as you can in order to find something that will work for you.
3. Stick it out.
If you find yourself particularly habit-resistant, quit thinking it is a fast fix. Oliver Burkeman’s article in Psychology Today—“How Long Does It Really Take to Change a Habit?”—resists the 21-day notion and says that difficult habits really are hard to die. He encourages you to give yourself more like 60 days before you call it quits.
4. If at first you don’t succeed—try something else.
I have found over the years that it really did only take one or two new habits to change an area of frustration, or a target area, as I like to call it. But finding that key habit or two can be the challenge. If something isn’t working, try something else, but don’t give up altogether.
5. Make it a matter of the heart.
Without over-spiritualizing something like a stocked pantry, most of our bad habits do come down to heart issues. Whether we are over-spending, overeating, or cramming way too much stuff in our closets, we can usually find where our heart has gone astray. Get to know yourself and your sin better and discover how this new habit will bring honor to the Lord and grow you in Christlikeness.
I hope you will join us in 2013 as we look at Transformational Habits. Maybe there is something to the “new year, new you” after all.
Cathy Haynie and her husband, Jack, have three teenagers and make their home in Madison. Cathy is the Headmaster of Christ Covenant School and occasionally speaks to groups on Honoring God in the Home and Balancing Work and Home. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.