Some estimate that 71% of what we do on a daily basis is habitual. But habits can be a blessing or a curse.
God designed our brains to automate the solving of problems we face repeatedly. And that can be great when it comes to things like driving or brushing our teeth. But if we aren’t thoughtful and deliberate about the habits we are creating, we can end up ensconcing bad ones that are hard to break.
But summer is a great time to do a hard reset on your habits.
In summer our schedules tend to slow down, and we’re less hounded by the tyranny of the urgent. This affords a great opportunity to evaluate and make conscious changes to your habits.
And, yes, you can change your habits.
In his best-selling book, Atomic Habits, James Clear created what he calls The 4 Laws of Behavior Change to use as tools to consciously hack our habits to our advantage.
The 4 Laws of Behavior Change
- Make it obvious
- Make it attractive
- Make it easy
- Make it satisfying
To be clear, mere behavior change can’t transform our hearts, only God can do that. But sometimes we need to start doing the right thing before we start to desire it. Greg Gifford notes in his book, Heart & Habits, “Many of us are plagued with a lack of desire in areas where we know we need to change. Yet, that lack of desire isn’t going to change until we begin to change our habits.”
In fact, behavior change can put us in the way of what does change our hearts, God’s Word. And that’s why spiritual habits are so important.
Here’s how you could apply the 4 laws of behavior change this summer to create a Bible reading habit you’ll stick with for the rest of the year:
- Make it obvious → Create a dedicated space for Bible reading
- Make it attractive → Make that space really cozy so you want to be there
- Make it easy → Print out your Bible reading plan and put it in your Bible
- Make it satisfying → Use a reading plan with checkboxes for each section of Scripture you read so you feel a sense of accomplishment after each reading thus reinforcing the habit.
And you can apply these principles to any habit and start seeing positive patterns form.
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But the real power comes when you start stacking your habits.
Several years ago I started applying these principles to create a morning routine that would let me carve out time to do several habits to improve my spiritual life and personal growth.
Thanks to this morning routine, I’ve been able to consistently:
- Wake up earlier
- Read my Bible daily
- Exercise each morning
- Plan the day ahead
It’s just become automatic.
But it all started with taking a step back one summer and asking, “how can I change my habits so I can put myself on a course to become the person God wants me to be?” I would encourage you to do the same this summer.
Make the choice to modify your habits for the glory of God.
P.s. I’ve had the privilege of helping over 300 people create a Christ-honoring morning routine like the one I just described. I’d love to help you do the same here.