habits

Encouraging You With My Walking Habit Results

I’ve been thinking about habits. Probably because I read two really great books about habits last week.

A few months ago, I posted a blog about my goal for this year of taking 200 walks and reading 200 books. I pointed out that I was having an easy time adding in more reading because it was already familiar to me. I'm not a brain scientist, but my guess is that the brain paths for reading are already built. I had somewhere to begin. It wasn’t the same story as walking. That was a brand new habit I was beginning, and it was hard.

April ends today, and I’m seeing progress.

I took my 50th walk yesterday. I find myself naturally wanting to walk at certain times of the day. On weekdays, I try to walk around four in the afternoon. On the weekend, I try to walk after lunch. I obviously don’t walk every day, but it is easier to take a day off when I’m not feeling it if I’m at least trying to go every day.

The book Atomic Habits talks about the idea of a habit loop: cue, craving, response, reward. My son getting home from high school at 4:15 has been a great cue for starting my walk. This cue has lead to craving — wanting to take my walk.

My reward is checking off a box. I learned in The Four Tendencies that this is a reward for me because I am an Upholder. I love checking boxes and seeing I am not letting myself down.

My husband is of a different tendency. He is an Obliger. He’s actually been going on a lot of walks with me, and he feels like spending that time with me and supporting my goal is his reward.

I hope my habit check-in will encourage you to set some measurable goals and track them. You don’t have to have an expensive planner. Grab an index card, write May at the top of it, and start tallying that habit you want to change. If marking a box or a card will feel like a reward to you, do that. If not, come up with a reward that helps your habit along.

I’ve been using my expensive planner that I won in an Instagram giveaway to track my walking and reading goal, but I’ve been using an inexpensive notepad on my fridge to keep track of some goals I’ve made around snacking.

You might need a buddy to keep you on track, there is no shame in that. The Four Tendencies says that over 40% of people are Obligers who would benefit from accountability. Ask a friend if you can text a picture of your index card every week.

Having a camera on our phones is a great motivation tool. Taking pictures has kept me excited about my walks.

Accept you’re exceptional. You are unique in how you think. It may take a while to figure out what works. Keep trying, and you’ll begin to see change.

walking habit 1.jpg
walking habit 2.JPG
walking habit 3.jpg

What habits are you working on? I’d love to know!

A Greeting That Reminds Us Who We Are

Is there a connection between what we do and who we are? Does what we believe about ourself matter?

I think the answer is yes. I believe the key to fighting lies is the repetition of truth. I even made a worksheet to help you battle lies last fall.

Right now I’m halfway through the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. I love the chapter called “How Your Habits Shape Your Identity (and Vice Versa).” It reminded me of our lie fighting strategy.

 
Your identity emerges out of your habits. You are not born with preset beliefs. Every belief, including those about yourself, is learned and conditioned through experience. More precisely, your habits are how you embody your identity.... The more you repeat a behavior, the more you reinforce the identity associated with that behavior. In fact, the word identity was originally derived from the Latin words essentitas, which means being, and identidem, which means repeatedly. Your identity is literally your ‘repeated beingness.’
— James Clear, Atomic Habits

How does this “repeated beingness” translate to finding our identity in Christ?

First, we never feel like we have repeatedly been the things that Jesus lays over our sin. We don’t feel righteous for good reason. Only He is righteous. Sometimes we don’t feel like a child of God, with all of the benefits as heirs to His kingdom.

We can try to act like a child of God, and slowly (if we can keep getting up after stumbling) our identity can change. Or — here’s the faster route — we can change what we believe internally first, and that belief will change our outward actions. According to Clear, this is the best way to make a change, by changing from the inside out. He says we focus on who we are becoming by focusing on identity-based habits instead of outcome-based habits. Clear points out that there is a feedback loop between identity and habits.

Your habits shape your identity, and your identity shapes your habits.
— James Clear, Atomic Habits

This is where my Battling Lies Worksheet will help you believe your identity in Christ and help you create identity-based habits.

Every morning, I write a sentence in my calendar. I write what I believe is true about my identity in Christ. This repetition of the truth is the best defense as I fight lies — lies from the enemy, lies in my thoughts, lies in my feelings, and lies in our world.

Believing I am known and liked by God helps me want to know and like God back. It is easy to find myself abiding in God’s Word when it is a part of my identity. Of course I’m studying God’s Word because I’m included, friended, and commissioned. How else would I know His plan so I can join Him in it?

Last week, I was studying the letter from Jude, and I found more words to add to my repeated morning writings.

Called.

Beloved.

Kept.

This greeting from Jude reminds us who we are.

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,

To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.
— Jude 1-2 ESV

I am called, beloved, and kept.

You are called, beloved, and kept.

How do we act as if we are called? We believe we are called by God, and then we will behave as if we are called by God.

How do we act as if we are beloved? We believe we are beloved by God, and then we will behave as if we are beloved by God.

How do we act as if we are kept? We believe we are kept by God, and then we will behave as if we are kept by God.

I am so thankful for this identity reminder in Jude, and you better believe I have begun writing called, beloved, and kept every morning with my other truths.

I encourage you to stop trying to change outward behaviors and instead focus on changing what you believe about yourself. You will go far in changing your actions by focusing on who you are in Christ.

Need a truth-boost to get you going on this path of identity belief? Download the worksheet, friend.

I discovered Andrew Peterson over Easter weekend when I found his album Resurrection Letters. After listening to this precious song, I am now officially a life-long fan.