Transformational Habits 2017

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In life, since we’re not usually where we want to be, we often make goals to get there. Here are mine.

  1. Spiritual. Read one chapter from the Bible every evening for my personal study (I already read a chapter a day with my children after breakfast; but, I want to make sure I have time alone in the word, as well). Goal: develop consistency in personal Bible reading.
  2. Relational. Smile very often to my husband and children. Thank them, compliment them, and encourage them every chance I get. Goal: practice being thankful and joyful with my family.
  3. Financial. Save a certain amount out of every paycheck my husband gets. Goal: invest in the future.
  4. Health. Do a few sit ups every morning before getting out of bed (more exercises can be added later; but for now, I need to start with something simple). Be strict in following doctor’s instructions for supplements and nutrition.  Goal: contribute toward better long-term health. (Since I anticipate the possibility of more pregnancies, it is important for me to take care of my body by developing healthy habits. I am willing to be a vessel for God to create new life within my womb; I need to be a strong and well-prepared vessel.)

These goals may seem very basic and non-ambitious to you; that’s because they are. I’ve realized that if a goal is ever going to be attainable, it needs to be sustainable; it won’t work for the long run if it involves a lot of energy to maintain, so it must be simplistic.

Just recently, I heard a speaker on the radio talk about the difference between basic habits and transformational habits. First of all, he said, it’s necessary to establish habits so that we won’t become exhausted having to learn everything over again every time. So, we develop habits like brushing our teeth, getting dressed in a particular way, washing our hands after using the bathroom, etc. But, though necessary, those habits are not what might be considered “transformational habits.” The transformational type have the power to change the course of our lives, one increment at a time. Act upon small act, we practice a new style of living that builds into a positive, nearly unbreakable, habit. However, the trick is to keep it simple.

So we might pick one, or a very few, small things we can change this year, with minimal effort. As we practice this new habit a little every day, it will eventually become second nature. But we should choose something that will impact the course of our lives for the better.

  • What goals have you chosen for this new year?
  • What new habits would you like to acquire; what old habits would you like to get rid of?
  • Is there anything that you have found helpful in forming sustainable habits?
  • To you, what sort of habits are “transformational”?
  • Do you feel that God is leading you to make some specific changes in your life? What changes, and why?

If we do not change our course, we are likely

to end up where we are headed.

 

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10 thoughts on “Transformational Habits 2017

  1. Great article! 🙂

    What you said about transformational habits reminded me of something I read years ago about “keystone” habits –

    http://thecommonroomblog.com/2013/01/keystone-habits-routines-and-a-giveaway.html

    Good stuff all around.

    I don’t tend to make yearly goals, just because I find that I don’t remember them for more than about 24 hours after making them. 🙂 Instead, I usually make monthly goals, and I try to make them attainable rather than theoretical (i.e. “bake one pie” instead of “bake more pies”).

    When I’m trying to learn a new habit, I usually try to associate it with something else. For example, “drink one glass of water WHEN I enter the kitchen,” or something like that. If (a) can remind me of (b), that can help me not to forget (b) as often.

    For this coming period of time, I’m trying to work on staying off of the computer, especially in the morning. Morning computer time really kills my productivity. I’m also trying to keep my computer time organized and timely – i.e. answering emails promptly, reading articles right away – rather than having an overflowing inbox or multiple tabs lined up that need attention. I’m also trying to focus on my primary work, which is my family. And goodness knows, there is certainly enough there to keep me PLENTY busy, now and forever! 🙂

    Happy New Year to you all! 🙂
    Diana

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    • Thanks, Diana!
      I read the article you linked to, and it was informative. So, keystone habits are small changes we make that in turn, automatically affect many other things–that certainly does make a lot of sense!
      I also agree with what you said your own experience has been; specific, short term goals are easier to keep than vague, long term goals–absolutely true!
      I liked your observation that it helps to tie the habit we want to develop in with something else. And I can totally identify with needing to keep computer time in it’s own little cubby hole!
      Great points! So helpful!
      And Happy New Year to you and your family, too!
      Jessica

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  2. Hi,Jessica! Happy new year and God’s blessing be always with you and your family.

    When I have free time at home,I often read some christian blog/news,listening hymns/christian music/praise songs all over the world on youtube,or playing hymns on my degital piano.I also like to watch documentaries,VTR of testimonies.When my husband or son uses computer,or they hope ‘quiet time’,I read books,or studying languages.

    These customs are off course encouragement and good for me,but recently I think that I’d better seek what I can do,use my free time more for others.Last month I made handmade knit muffler for my friend’s mother who had been hospitalized for months.Now she recovered and attends church service with us.

    When my son was 5 years old,I made a lot of handmade felt toy for him.(felt cakes,vegitables,foods,animals,etc)
    2years later,I noticed that a lot of felt are left in my house.My mother gave me embroidery thread at that time,so I came up with making felt toy for a little girl of my church.

    My son’s friends and some of his school mates watched me sewing,when they came to our house.Soon they asked me,’If you have time,please make them also for me!’. One girl brought a borrowed book and showed me and asked ‘Can you make this also for me?’.

    I cannot remember how many toys I made.Maybe more than three hundreds.I kept on making also for my son,he still has these toys.My son had belonged to support class for handicapped at that time ,I also made felt bears for the support class mates for Christmas gift the year.

    Many of those who asked me to make toys were immigrants,some of them were christians.Their mothers were working outside so hardly.For most of them,handmade gifts were rare.I knew that later.

    They gave me thank-you letters.Some of them gave me and my son their own handmade gifts/sweets in return.

    To tell the truth,I got so busy at that time,sometimes I felt ‘my spiritual me-time is gone!’.But now remembering the days,it is happy memory.Now I have enough time for me to pray silently,to receive spiritual nutrition.

    Sharing something I have with others,seeking what I can do for others.I feel this may be change of my life this years!

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    • Dear Sanae,
      I like your new year goal: “sharing something I have with others, seeking what I can do for others.” What a great goal to work toward!

      I agree that helping others and being involved in their lives can bring happiness. It seems to me that Jesus was out helping others a whole lot more than He was off by Himself in prayer up on the mountain at night. I think that we could follow that pattern: spend most of our time with others, and allocate a small portion of time to be alone to pray, as Jesus did. I do think it’s important to rest, since God designed the Sabbath with that goal in mind. But sometimes that “rest” can come in different forms during different phases of our lives. Right now, I’m happy to be able to read a chapter of the Bible before going to bed. When my little baby was younger, it was harder for me to do that. Then, my rest was mostly when I nursed her, as it still is to a large degree.

      I loved to read about how you make felt toys for children! What a wonderful way to share God’s kindness with them! You are a very sweet person.
      Jessica

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  3. It is often hard to keep goals during a year i find. I often set goal only for the day or the week and i often put these goals on a list. This helps me to have my mind free plus there are only few things more satisfying than putting a check behind an accomplished task on my list.
    I also like to include thing like ‘bring a gift to my neighbour’ or ‘read the bible and pray’. I tend to keep certain things until ‘i ll have time’.
    I would like to spend more time in prayer time. I mean i pray a lot during the day while im working but it is so precious time to be alome with the Lord for a time. This is probably my goal for this year. Just one😊

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    • Thanks, Ruth. How nice that you prioritize taking gifts to your neighbors! I think your one goal of spending more time in prayer is a very worthy one! Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the unseen powers of the heavenlies; so prayer, and keeping close to God, is crucial!
      Thanks for sharing your experience; it was helpful to me!
      Jessica

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  4. Yes we struggle against unseen powers.
    Last week as we did our Sunday evening family devotion both my husnand and i had that notion.
    The children where soo unruly during this time. (usually we re quite able to handle them) The teenagers felt very bored very tired, the little ones were constnatly teasing each other very wiggely. We had not a good time. And as soon as the devotion was over all where fine again. It was a bit creepy we found. Now we re not supersticious but maybe next time we d do better to honestly pray and devote this time to the Lord before we begin. There is one thing the enemy does not like. Because it will take away his power.:
    Praying familys and praying couples. He will try to prevent us from doing it. BUT: Its a loosing battle. Praise to Jesus. The devil is allready defeatet❗

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    • I found your story very interesting, Ruth! I don’t think you are superstitious; I think you have a good point about how unseen powers are at work to interfere with what God is doing in our lives. Thank you for the encouragement to keep praying!
      Jessica

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  5. Hi Jessica

    One thing the Lord has clearly said to me this season is that if I want more output (which I do!), then I need more input. So, I’m thinking up and trying to establish input-type habits! (oil in my lamp, so to speak).

    God bless, Jacqueline

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    • I agree, Jacqueline! I don’t think it’s always selfish to have “input time,” as you call it. As you say, we can’t give what we don’t have (not your words, but I think that’s the idea, right?) It’s only when people get over-involved in their input, and neglect the output, that things become imbalanced.

      I’m realizing just how much I cherish my time reading the Bible alone. It is such a treasure to have that opportunity to quiet my spirit, and allow God to fill it. Absolutely!

      I wonder, what sort of input-type habits are you thinking of establishing? I’d love to know! It might be something that could be helpful to me, too!
      Thanks, again,
      Jessica

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