New Habits For A New Year

One of the most helpful books I read last year was James Clear’s Atomic Habits. I’ve been thinking about it again as 2024 begins. Often, people make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, and those good intentions tend to fade after a while. Full of ambition and desire to change but seldom is there a plan of action.

What I liked about Atomic Habits was its focus on making small changes rather than instant transformation. We really are creatures of habit and if we change our habits, we end up changing our behaviors. Habits are often things we do without thinking. Maybe you find yourself scrolling social media too much. Or perhaps you aren’t in the habit of preparing healthy meals. Maybe it’s as simple as the morning routine or preparing to go to bed and get a good sleep.

Rather than making many resolutions, we might be better off examining some of our habits and how they impact our daily lives. What is one thing you would like to change during this coming year? What is one healthy habit you would like to add that might move you slowly closer to your goals?

Clear writes “Your habits shape your identity, and your identity shapes your habits.” We ought to think of ourselves as followers of Jesus first and find habits that reinforce our identity in him.

The Apostle Paul writing long before the insights of modern psychology said, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)

Our daily habits build on one another. If we start in the wrong place, we end up heading in the wrong direction. Don’t be overwhelmed with trying to make all your life changes in this one week. Think about one habit that might be helpful to change or one practice that will be helpful to start. You might be surprised at how it impacts the rest of this year.