Habits. Routine. Discipline.
It’s like trying to bake a pizza on a cookie sheet, it just doesn’t fit. Those who have a carefree personality have a more difficult time adopting routine, others have young children and attempting to keep any form of schedule goes out the window as their needs arrive spontaneously. There’s times you start to figure things out, but as your belly grows with another one on the way, you feel unwell, and slowly begin another new transition.
Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not an expert on consistency. My rhythms and routines often change as quickly as a chameleon through a flower patch, so I know how hard it can be to start again and adjust life happens.
What I’ve started to learn through all the changes of life, are a few steps to take that have helped me to get back into a rhythm of life with the good habits, I am longing for.
This is where the quick guide begins.
What type of woman do you want to be in 5 years? 10?
Take some time just to sit and dream. Be incredibly wary of your tendency to judge yourself here, that is not what this time is for. There are a million habits, but you’re not making the list for just anyone, you’re making it for you. Think through your gifts, your strengths and abilities; your passions and desires - the woman God has created you to be, and is forming you to become. Write a paragraph to describe what she looks like, who she is and what habits or character growth have helped her to get there.
What are your roles, responsibilities and priorities?
There are a lot of good things we can do, and sometimes should do. Whether it is a daily Bible reading time, prayer, exercise, or healthier eating habits, there always seems to be something that we can grow in. While healthy minds, bodies and relationships are all part of who we are and impact our wellbeing, we must also recognize the state of our priorities among the tasks we are called to do, balancing between kids, family and spiritual disciplines (which is a constant juggling act!)
Something is always better than nothing.
If you look over the habits and character development areas, pick one that you feel is the best fit for this season of your life. Prayerfully take this list to the Lord. He knows you deeply, and it’s His guidance, discernment and grace we are dependent upon as we step into new patterns of behavior. Keeping in mind this:
“I cannot transform myself…what I can do is create the conditions in which spiritual transformation can take place by developing and maintaining a rhythm of spiritual practices that keep me open and available to God” – Ruth Haley Barton, Sacred Rhythms
Reliance on the grace of God to help us shift and change is essential. Change often happens slowly, there are small steps forward, only to slide backwards in a short while. So easily we can slip into harsh judgement on ourselves, when we need to receive God’s grace toward us, His loving compassion.
What’s your plan to start?
This is the moment where it all comes together, you’ve taken this to the Lord, felt this change is important, you’re trusting in His grace to help you, and now it’s time to begin.
If it’s a morning devotional time, set yourself up for success. Get the coffee ready the night before, plan to be in bed at a good time. If it’s healthier eating choices, make your grocery list, plan for the week ahead. Prepare for the journey as best you can, steady yourself in prayer if you miss it again.
To help me grow new habits, I use a habit tracker in my journal, marking down a list of my habits and checking off each day the habits I am keeping up with. It helps me recognize when I’m slipping, and celebrates success when a habit becomes the norm.
Another important checkpoint is accountability! I’ve joined a group of ladies on WhatsApp to check in on how we are doing, celebrating each other’s successes and helping each other with tips and tricks. They could be the first to tell you that I’m not perfect, but I believe the goal is growing, both in our successes and in our failures, in our times of strength and our times of weakness, because we can glorify God in all of it. So find a friend to share your new goal, our gather some women around you to walk in new habits together. I responded to a facebook shoutout because it was just a great opportunity for accountability and relationship!
2020 is almost over, and the dawn of 2021 is coming. The new year will ring in the traditional call for resolutions, but there’s no time like the present to reflect on how God has been growing us this past year, through all the craziness, and how He wants to continue to shape and mold us more into his likeness this coming year.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col 3:17).
What are some steps you take when you are growing new habits?