Habit. It might be defined this way: “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary” (Dictionary.com).
Once in place, habits are powerful. The truth is that we shape our habits, and then they shape us.
Yet, habits can be weakened, broken, and . . . changed.
Indeed, John Maxwell speaks to our habits this way: “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
So, as the New Year begins, it might be a great time to step back and take a fresh look at your habits. Celebrate the good habits, but identify the bad ones as well.
This process, as Gordon MacDonald puts it, involves “a frank assessment of one’s shortfalls, an acknowledgment before God of their existence, and a serious intention to correct the wrongs” (A Resilient Life, p. 64).
Then what? As you consider a bad habit, take these steps.
- Face it.
- Name it.
- Renounce it.
- Replace it.
This process – a biblical word for it might be “repentance” – is integral to the shaping and development of our character.
It is best done in the power of the Spirit, informed by the Scripture, and with the encouragement and accountability of other believers.
So, if you want to have a better New Year, focus on your habits.
“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
So a character, and your reap a destiny.”
I’m praying the Lord’s favor for you and me . . . and the courage and discipline to change our habits . . . in this New Year!