This time of year finds a lot of people both reflecting back over the past year and looking ahead in order to make adjustments and changes for the better. We look back at the year that has passed and analyze what went well and what was lacking. We aspire to work harder and do more in the upcoming year. Many set intentions and New Year’s Resolutions. It is my opinion however, that it is not always about working harder or being more resolved. My Pastor said something in his sermon yesterday that really struck me.
He said this: “New Year’s resolutions are our way of saying to God that we can do it on our own.”
Wow. Let that sink in. Don’t get me wrong, I think goals and intentions are wonderful. We must be deliberate if we expect to be fruitful. However, we must also make sure that we involve the Lord. I love that my church, like many churches, starts the New Year with a call to join in a corporate fast. The intent is to deny the often misguided hunger of the flesh in order to seek a true and pure hunger for deeper intimacy with the Lord and to align our work with things which produce Kingdom value.
“Commit your works to the Lord [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].”
Proverbs 16:3 AMP
“He said, “This is the message from the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Your help will not come from your own strength and power. No, your help will come from my Spirit.’ This is what the Lord All-Powerful says.”
Zechariah 4:6 AMP
I believe that in order to be spiritually healthy and effective, we must steward our physical bodies and our minds in a way that honors the Lord and allows us to walk in full health and abundance. The foundation of this process is simply healthy habits. I can speak from personal experience that white-knuckling it doesn’t work. To be sustainable, it must become a part of who you are and what you do. To accomplish that, it must be enjoyable. If you start with the smallest step, you will eventually learn to enjoy the disciple found in larger undertakings. However, those bigger steps are not the starting point changes I encourage others to focus on in the beginning. They are overwhelming, discouraging, and most often leave us right where we started. It just isn’t realistic to go to work on large scale in the initial phases of habit change. Enter small habits… The key to massive success. The little wins are enjoyable and sustainable.
I also feel that it is much more challenging to focus on removing unhealthy behaviors. Telling ourselves we “can’t have or do” XYZ usually backfires, because it causes us to fixate on the very thing(s) we are trying to overcome. Instead, it can be helpful to add in something positive which, when practiced consistently over the course of time, will become second nature (it become “who we are”) and then also serves to push out the old habit we want to replace naturally and without much effort (it becomes “what we do”).
I have had an idea floating around in my head and it hit me this morning that now is the time to put it into action. Each month, I will be sharing one small habit that I would like anyone who is willing to join along in implementing. The idea is to form a habit by practicing it over the course of the month (hence, #GiveMe30). Once the 30 days has passed, continue the habit if it serves you, which I think most of them will! We will then continue the process by starting a new habit challenge each month. These habits will be small, simple, and nothing so overwhelming that you can’t accomplish them, regardless of who you are. The idea is to give you some small wins and positive steps which will get you heading in a direction that leads you to larger goals and a healthier you. They will vary in what area they might serve to grow you (mental, spiritual, physical, emotional, relational, financial, etc.), but they will all revolve around adding in positive habits and strengthening you in your overall health and being so that you are most effective in the purposes the Lord has prepared you for.
So here’s the deal. Start now (or whenever you might happen to come across this post) with the first challenge point. Don’t overthink it… Just take action! These things are easy to do, but that also means they are easy not to do. Commit to doing them. Even if you don’t see the value in them, do them anyway. Sometimes the value to things is not apparent until later on. I promise I am not going to suggest anything that will ever move you in a negative direction. If you can truly say after 30 days that the habit was a net neutral in your life, then no worries, you don’t have to continue it. Although, I would argue that simple act of a discipline repeated consistently for 30 days is of value in and of itself, as it serves to prove to you that you are capable of follow-through.
Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day. Get right back to it as soon as you can. Ideally, set a reminder on your phone and a physical visual trigger that will assist you in maintaining consistency. My motto is “never miss twice.” I aim for daily with most habits, but if I miss a day, my motto serves to remind me that I have NO wiggle room. If I missed yesterday, I absolutely will not miss today. The more clear the intent the more likely the follow through.
Also! Please, please share this project with someone who you think may also find value in it. Not only will it give you the opportunity to have someone with whom you can expect accountability from, but you never know how it may impact their life! We were not meant to do things alone. Where at least two people join together in like-minded purpose, there is a transformative power of anointing from the Lord and from that, a culture that begins to take form. A culture has the ability to transform the lives of those involved, as well as the lives of those around them. I desire to ignite a culture of growth, health, and inspiration. This weaves together the natural and spiritual as one unit operating under the Lord’s authority. Only He can author purpose driven growth.
“As iron sharpens iron, So one man sharpens [and influences] another [through discussion].”
Proverbs 27:17 AMP
“For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting together as My followers], I am there among them.”
Matthew 18:20 AMP
I would love for you to keep track of your challenge and share on social media by using the #GiveMe30HabitProject and tagging me. I am Kaci M. Byrd Cheeseman on Facebook and @CheeseGirlPA on Instagram.
You will be able to find all #GiveMe30HabitProject challenges under the menu bar dedicated to the endeavor as they become available, or by searching the tag in the site search bar. I will post a blog at the start of each month announcing the details of that month’s habit!
What is it you want to achieve? Who do you want to become? How do you want to serve others? You may not know how to get there, or even how to get started. I just ask that you trust me and help spread the message to others so they can become involved. Keep showing up, and together we will get you there, one 30 day habit at a time!
The first challenge is coming at you tomorrow!
Are you ready!? Let’s get growing!!