Tips for Starting New Practices
Some spiritual practices are about doing new things. They’re about filling your life with new habits that support a growing relationship with God. That’s how transformation takes place.
Here are six tips for starting a new habit:
Do your research.
Before you dive into a new practice, take a little time to figure out why that new practice will benefit you and what you need to do to get started. Connect with God should make your research easy and quick.
Commit to 30 days.
New habits don’t form overnight. If you really want to build spiritual practices into the rhythm of your life, you’ll need to stick with it long enough for them to take root. Doing practice consistently for one month is a good rule of thumb for creating a new habit.
This is related to the previous tip. If you want a habit to take hold, you need to be consistent. For most of the practices, it’s best to do them daily if possible. Some of the practices—like generosity, accountability, and service—may happen less frequently and require a commitment longer than 30 days to take hold.
Get a buddy.
Guess what? This is related to the practice of accountability. Whatever practice you choose to add to your life, it’s best if you can find a partner for the journey. You’ll both be more likely to succeed if you encourage and challenge each other.
Be kind to yourself.
There will be missteps along the way. You’ll miss days. You’ll slide back into bad habits. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t quit. God loves you and extend his grace to you. Do the same for yourself. If you stumble on your way to forming a new habit, take a moment to consider whether your previous approach was sustainable, makes adjustments to your strategy if necessary, and try again. The effort will be worth it.
Find your sweet spot.
Remember: the goal here isn’t to add an item to your to-do list. It’s to find a way to integrate spiritual practices into the rhythm of your life so that your relationship with God become a central focus of how you interact in the world. That will take some experimentation. To a certain extent, you’ll need to figure out how a particular practice can fit into your unique rhythms. But you’ll also have to figure out some ways you can change your rhythm in sustainable ways.
Keep in mind that for a practice to work for you long-term, it has to be energizing, sustainable, and focused on growth.