When my wife came home and told me she'd taken on a new client — an online nutrition coaching company — I was surprised. Nothing sounded shadier than an online nutrition company! I pictured shifty hucksters promoting fad programs. I felt skeptical. I wasn't expecting a respectable approach to building healthy habits.
I soon found out that the company was legitimate. Many of the staff had advanced degrees in nutrition science. They'd coached thousands of clients, and consulted with professional sports teams. They'd delivered results. I began to see the change that their approach had on my wife's life as her health improved.
The approach of this company succeeded for a couple of reasons:
- They translated theory into simple habits that anyone could follow.
- They helped people implement those habits with an effective approach to coaching.
Every week, they would give you a simple habit to practice. It was simple and not very overwhelming. For two weeks, they would send lessons about that habit. For two weeks, the only thing you were supposed to do is to practice that habit and to understand why.
That's it. They had done the hard work of figuring out what behaviors would lead to growth based on all of their research. Our job was simple: to practice that habit for two weeks until it became part of our lives.
The Power of Stacked Habits
Over the course of the year, we stacked 26 habits. Together, these habits made a significant difference in our lives. We learned that if we practiced these habits for the rest of our lives, they would positively impact our health.
Of course, we never practice these habits perfectly. And we often needed coaching support to help us implement these habits. But even done imperfectly, our lives changed for the better.
Stacking Gospel Habits
Throughout the centuries, Christians have discovered certain practices that help to form and shape us as we follow Jesus. These practices include things like reading and listening to Scripture, praying, participating in the life of a local church, observing Sabbath, and more.
Books like Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life have helped us to understand these habits and how to apply them in our lives.
The problem: many of us feel overwhelmed with all the things we know we should be doing. When we feel overwhelmed, we're likely to quit.
The solution is simple: to take the rich theology we have available to us through the gospel, to break these down into the key practices that will make a simple difference in our lives, and then to make them dead simple so we can begin to practice them.
Avoid overwhelm. Pick one key practice — like reading and listening to the Bible — and turn it into a habit. Shrink the challenge so that you're 80 percent sure you can pull it off regularly. And then focus on that habit until it's embedded in your life.
When you're done, stack another habit. You'll be amazed how much of a change you'll experience over the course of a year in your life.
We Want to Help
We'd love to help you do this.
If you're interested in how to build habits, and which ones matter most, then pick up our book How to Grow: Applying the Gospel to ALL of Life. It will help you take simple, achievable steps that lead to lasting growth.
We also provide G4L Coaching, which pairs habit stacking and coaching to help you make real progress in your life.
Don't give in to overwhelm. Take the key practices that help you pursue God, build them one at a time, and then stack them. It will make a big difference in every part of your life.