We’re just about to begin the second week of the new year—how are you doing on your goals so far? If you’re like most of us, this week it will be harder than last week to stick with your new habits. As the excitement of pursuing a better or healthier life wears off, we all are very tempted to revert back into old ways that are familiar. How can we head this tendency off at the pass?
This Is Hard
I find it helpful to recognize that creating a new habit or doing what you’ve never done before is difficult. Take fitness for example: it may not seem like a very tall order to work out for 15 minutes for 4 or more days per week, but especially if you’re accustomed to 0 workouts per week normally, the new habit will be a challenge to acquire.
Hard, but Temporarily So
After recognizing that maintaining a new habit it difficult, it’s also important to recognize that it won’t always be so hard to maintain. After you breech the 30-day mark, you’re essentially built a new routine and continuing with it is much easier. So, when it’s hard to choose the apple over the slice of cake on day 18, be encouraged by remembering that your good habit of healthy eating will soon be much easier.
Keep Your Eye On What Matters
Thirdly, you’ll do best to focus on being consistent with the habit instead of demanding perfection of yourself every day. For example, if your new habit is to get fitter, focus on getting to the gym for a workout at least 3 times per week. Even if you don’t have a killer workout every time, you’re reinforcing the good habit of getting to the gym. Later, once you own the habit, you can focus on getting the most out of each minute you’re at the gym.
Find an Encourager
And finally, seek accountability from winners in your life. If you’d like to become more regular with your Bible devotions, find a godly friend and ask if he would be willing to meet with you once a week and let you share what you’ve learned in your devotions that week. The coming meeting will help motivate you to spend time in the Word each day so that you have something to share at the meeting. A great friend like this can be a great encouragement too in those times when you fall or fail—helping to pick you back up and help you get back on your good track.
Let’s Go Together
Good habits are hard to acquire, but once acquired, they can take us to extraordinary places. Never underestimate what 20 minutes per day can do to improve your life when it’s toward a valuable purpose and repeated consistently for a lifetime. Let’s make 2013 the beginning of your thriving life!