The beginning of the New Year seems like the perfect time to make a fresh start in your life. This is the reason why every January so many people make New Year’s resolutions. Among the top resolutions are weight loss, exercise, stopping smoking, better money management, and debt reduction.
Did you know on average, most resolutions are broken after two weeks?
Why is this so?
Psychologists have discovered that the primary reason people fail at attaining the goals they set is a failure to change their habits. Most of us desire to change something we do not like about ourselves, but this also requires changing contributing behavior.
Developing New Patterns of Thinking
According to neurologists, habitual behavior is created by thinking patterns that create neural pathways and memories. Merely trying to stop bad behavior not only does not work, it in effect just strengthens it. True transformation requires creating new neural pathways that are formed as a result of developing new patterns of thinking. You can visualize the effect neural pathways have on behavior by imagining a well-trodden path in a field. Every time a behavior is repeated, it has the same effect as someone repeatedly walking back and forth over that patch of grass.
Think about an activity you have practiced for many years. The sheer amount of times you have repeated that activity or thinking process has created deep neurological pathways. Changing bad behavior can only occur as a result of developing new habits and new ways of thinking. The Bible says, “Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mold but let God remold your minds from within [your mind], so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all his demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity” (Romans 12:2, J.B. Phillips).
Start Contradicting Your Present Reality
“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12).
In his letter to Titus, Paul spoke of grace empowering the child of God to deny ungodliness and world lusts.
“Denying” in the original Greek means, “to contradict.” Similarly, in Ephesians, Paul admonishes believers: “…with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; and be made new in the attitude of your minds, putting on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV).
We must not only cease ungodly living but also contradict it by doing the opposite. We put off deceitful desires and put on new ways of thinking, speaking, and living. We not only resist ungodliness but replace it with godly habits.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2020 – the year that will be like every other year…unless you do things differently.
I close with the words of behavioral expert James Clear:
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Your goal is your desired outcome. Your system is the collection of daily habits that will get you there…Spend less time focusing on outcomes and more time focusing on the habits that precede the results.”
For the Kingdom,
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