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Intentional Habit Formation For Growth Over Time

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Habit Formation Goes Beyond Good Intentions

We’ve been talking about HABIT FORMATION. And we started last week on Ep 239 with the first step – HABIT AWARENESS. We all have habits. Are we paying attention to what they are and how those habits are forming (or mis-forming) who we are becoming?

To be human is to be formed over time. Just look at your children. Over the years they’ve likely grown from completely dependent infants to nearly independent adults because they are constantly being formed. No matter how much we wish we could push pause, we have to let them grow up. That’s how they become who God created them to be over time. 

In the same way, you and I are not the same person we were 20 years ago. And we will not be the same 20 years from now.  

We are all engaged in the process of BECOMING over time –

WHO are we BECOMING? And what is FORMING us in that process?

For too many, it’s UNINTENTIONAL FORMATION. Most people wake up and left life happen mindlessly, giving time to immediate desires without considering their long-term personal growth.

That’s what I call living by DEFAULT. 

If you continue to live unintentionally, who will you be by 50, 75, 100?

But the opposite is possible. Living by design means making conscious decisions about your actions and habits, as they shape who you become.

What habits are forming you?

HABIT AUDIT – The First Step in Habit Formation

Have you done a habit audit? Jot down what you do on repeat. Think about how you start your day, do your work, care for your home, your family, yourself, and how you end your day.

Whether or not you’ve been paying attention, you can live with INTENTION starting today. Choose one habit from your audit – good, bad, or seemingly indifferent. How is this habit forming or mis-forming me?  

  • Grabbing your phone first thing in the morning?

  • Snacking when you feel that mid-afternoon slump?

  • Working or scrolling up till bed (or later than you’d like)? 

Ask yourself, “Who is the person I am becoming if I continue to allow this habit to form me?”  

In the moment, that device, that dessert, that deadline feels like it matters, but will it really matter when it’s all said and done?  

As believers, we know this world is not our forever home, yet we give our time, money and attention to it every day.

That is why there’s wisdom in living with the end in sight cuz it shapes what we choose in the here and now. 

When we understand what we’re living for is beyond the here and now, we won’t chase time like the world around us but see it as a gift from Him for a bigger purpose.

A great prayer to focus your INTENTION is Psalm 90:12 which says, “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” 

I really like how it’s said in the Contemporary English Version, “Teach us to use wisely all the time we have.”

We need to recognize how we are living (intentional or unintentionally) influences who we become.

It starts with paying ATTENTION to our habits.

INTENTION – The Second Step in Habit Formation

So how can we be intentional about our habit formation – about forming habits that point us in the right direction in our WITH-God Life + Biz? 

By not living like the world around us. 

Woman reading her bible and being intentional about her habit formation.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conFORMED to this world, but be transFORMED by the renewing of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Did you notice the 2 versions of the word FORM? Conform and transform. 

When we let the world shape us, we become conformed to it, but when we let Him shape us, we become transformed, literally changed from the inside out to be altogether different, like a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly. 

His will is that we are formed to look more like Him.

Renewed Habit Formation Leads to Transformation

I often have wondered why God didn’t just whisk us off to heaven where we will be made perfect the moment we say yes to following Him…but I think that’s the point. Just like the disciples, it’s in the following Him in the day-to-day choices we make, in living life – the WITH-God Life – that the becoming (aka the transforming) happens. 

As John Mark Comer states in his book Practicing the Way, as a disciple (aka apprentice), your entire life would be organized around three driving goals to:

Be WITH Jesus. 

BECOME like Jesus. 

DO as He did.

In light of that, listen to the Romans 12:1-2 from the Message

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”

You see…It’s in the everyday, ordinary life of taking care of ourselves, our families, our homes, of investing in our relationships, our wellness, our resources, of building our businesses, ministries, and passions WITH-God that we become less like the world and more like Him. 

“The most important thing in your life is not what you do; it’s who you become. That’s what you will take into eternity.” – Dallas Willard

And so He gives us TIME in the here and now over our lifetime for the process of forming us. 

What Fruit are You Producing?

So how do you know if you’re being conformed to the world or transformed by Him?  

By the FRUIT you’re producing. 

I’m currently working through the Practicing the Way Course where I came across this list of the fruit of being conformed to the world vs being transformed by Him. See which more closely describes you.

Stress, hurry, anxiety, fear, insecurity, irritation, impatience, resentment, distraction, overwhelm, exhaustion, discouragement, isolation, disconnection, overworking, materialism, discontentment…

Or

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self control, unhurried, simplicity, calm, contentment, generosity, connection, belonging, authenticity, integrity, restfulness, diligence, meaning, direction, growth

Better yet, which list do you want to describe you?  

We’ll all look like the world if we’re not paying attention. 

And we’ll look more and more like Him when we live our WITH-God Life with intention.

Practice Makes Perfect

But growth + change in this way doesn’t happen by just waking up and going about your life. It takes practicing our habits till we become that person over time.

No one runs a marathon by “trying” to run a marathon, but by training to run a marathon.  And that takes intention around your daily habits to become the kind of person who runs a marathon – paying attention to what you eat (and don’t eat), when you work out (and when you rest), even what clothes you put on and what shoes you wear. And if you really wanna be well-prepared, you start regularly reading about, watching, and connecting with someone who has already run a marathon because as you spend time WITH them, you will become like them and you will start doing what they do. Sound familiar? 

In the same way, living a WITH-God Life that forms you into His image doesn’t happen by chance but by choosing one habit at a time and spending time with the one you want to become like. 

Habit Formation By Intention

But it takes INTENTION. Otherwise we will end up looking the same as everyone else who’s letting life just happen.

So how do we not get conformed to this world and start being transformed into who He is calling us to become?

By having INTENTION around what’s forming you…aka your habits. 

And now that you’ve paid attention to your current habits and how they’re shaping you, the next step in proper habit formation is about making a decision and taking a simple step with a HABIT SWAP. 

Pull out your HABIT AUDIT or that list you just made of what you do to start your day, end your day, and work throughout your day. 

Habit Swap

STEP 1 – Identify a Habit to Swap

What habit is not leading you toward who you want to be at 50, 75, or 100 years old?

Example: 72% of people check their phones before getting out of bed. Even if you wait until you’re up, go to the bathroom, make coffee, and then check your phone, it still counts.

What habit could you adopt instead to become the person you want to be—someone who seeks Him first and trusts His purposes and plans?

Replace 20 minutes of scrolling with 20 minutes of seeking Him through stillness, Scripture, and prayer. This could profoundly shape who you are becoming.

Delaying picking up your phone might reduce your daily usage, helping you avoid the average of 2,617 interactions that add up to 7 hours and 3 minutes on activities like social media, streaming, and web searches. But it takes intention to swap that habit for something else.

Evening Habits: According to studies, 89% of people use screens most nights before bed, leading to higher stress levels and difficulty falling asleep.

What if that hour of evening scrolling or binge-watching was turned into reading, being creative, walking, connecting with a loved one, stretching, journaling, or studying?

By paying attention to our habits and how they shape us, we can intentionally choose those that lead us to who we want to become.

Start with a habit swap. Identify your “gotta-go” habit and your “this-instead” habit. Ready? Now comes the next, equally important part.

Accountability

STEP 2 – Tell Someone.

It can be your spouse, a bestie, or a community you’re part of. Here’s where statistics can work in your favor.

  • Simply thinking about doing something gives you a 46% chance of doing it.

  • Writing it down and committing increases your chance to 56%.

  • Sharing your goal with someone raises your chance to 64%.

  • Reporting progress regularly to someone boosts your chance to 76%. 

 

That’s a big return on a simple choice to tell someone and give permission to hold you accountable. Simply put, if you want to have INTENTION around your HABIT FORMATION… WHAT habit will you swap and WHO will you tell? 

Better yet, who will continue to keep you accountable to paying attention to who you are becoming by having intention around your habits?  

The Redeem Her Time Community

How about a community of like-minded women who are seeking to be faithful + fruitful in how they use their time to build a WITH-God Life + Biz? 

The REDEEM Her Time Community is the perfect place to share. In fact, that’s where I’ll be hanging out to not only help you identify a mis-forming habit that you can swap but also a rightly-forming habit to swap it with and then with your permission, I’ll help hold you accountable to making that your new normal (aka form a new habit).  

Ready to take this second step in your HABIT FORMATION to become who He’s calling you to be?  

Good, we can’t wait for you to come join us and share your HABIT SWAP and see the difference it makes when you commit to being held accountable by someone who gets what it’s like trying to go against the flow of being conformed to this world. 

Before you jump over into the community, may I share one piece of advice I’ve learned the hard way on this journey to transforming and becoming? 

Don’t start where you think you should be. Start where you are. 

In other words, don’t feel like you should be spending an hour or more with the Lord each morning when 10 minutes has been hard to find up till now.

Start small and right where you’re at. Just take the time you’ve been giving to something else and reinvest it in something better. Guaranteed you’ll see a much better return over time!

You. Have. Time.

Oh, and one more thing –

When you’re tempted to say you don’t have time, remember you do have time. It’s just about if you’re spending it on what’s forming or mis-forming who you’re becoming.

All the more reason to book a 20 min CEO TIME AUDIT where together we’ll look at what you’re repeatedly giving time to that’s taking away from what could be forming you…and swap that for habits that will move you towards who God is calling you to be in your life + biz.

You don’t have time NOT to be intentional. Go grab a spot at redeemhertime.com/audit

And instead of being CONFORMED by your habits, you’ll be TRANSFORMED as you become more like Him. 

P.S. Schedule a 20 min CEO TIME AUDIT…and discover the key to start living beyond getting through another day…and REDEEM your Time in both Life + Biz

Visit the REDEEM Her Time Website https://redeemhertime.com

Join the conversation inside the REDEEM Her Time Community

Grab the free FILL YOUR CUP FIRST Guide + Coaching Video

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