The Secret Ingredient In Habit Change

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Welcome back to The Power of Simple Habits!

In the first lesson I taught about how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward.

Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.

In the previous lessons I shared the brain science behind creating a brand new habit, which we applied to family breakfast time. We also talked about how to change an old habit like a child’s bedtime.

But sometimes it’s just too hard to start a new habit, or too daunting to think about changing an entire bedtime routine, which is why we look for keystone habits that initiate great change in our families. 

Full series:

  1. The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits
  2. Starting a Brand New Habit
  3. Changing An Old Habit
  4. The Power of KEYSTONE habits
  5. The SECRET ingredient of habit change

But there’s one thing I didn’t tell you yet, and it’s the reason people with addictions go to AA every day. It’s the reason over-eaters go to Weight Watchers meetings and new exercisers go to group classes.

THE ONE THING THAT REALLY HELPS HABITS STICK 

The one thing that really helps habits stick is having a community that helps you believe that change is possible.  

In “The Power of Habit”, Charles Duhigg tells the true story of a man who was an alcoholic. While he attended daily AA meetings, he did well. He replaced his routines with new ones and remained sober for several years.

But when he felt like he was doing fine, he stopped attending meetings. Unfortunately, his life hit a rough patch, and he fell right back into his old habits and routines. 

Affiliate link to the book that helped me understand habits:



The author of this non-Christian book states that those with belief in higher powers were more likely to make it through a time of stress with their new habits intact. Seriously! And that belief was fostered within the community of Alcoholics Anonymous. 

Belief is critical. Belief in God, yes, but also belief that change is possible. That belief only emerges with the help of a group. 

WHY COMMUNITY IS CRUCIAL

We often will change simply because we’re part of a group that makes us believe a different way, where change seems possible. For example, I became much more environmentally-friendly when I hung out with environmentally-friendly friends regularly. I needed a community that made change believable and showed me small steps I could take. 

In the words of Charles Duhigg,

“If you want to change a habit, you must find an alternative routine, and your odds of success go up dramatically when you commit to changing as part of a group. Belief is essential, and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as 2 people.”

That’s why I created HopeGrown Faith in the first place – because we need a community of like-minded parents to spur us on, and to make us believe that change is possible.

HopeGrown Faith membership site

Do you have a community?

Maybe you have a MOPS group that meets regularly and helps you grow in your faith parenting skills. Or maybe you have a friend that regularly encourages you in this area. 

Or maybe you don’t. As I interviewed members of HopeGrown Faith, I discovered that they all had one thing in common. They wanted a community that spurred them on toward deeper faith and deeper faith-parenting skills. 

And they found it inside the HopeGrown Faith community. 

Laura is from a military family that is frequently locating. Laura said “I was constantly looking for and investing time (and energy) into Christian mom groups each time we move. The process certainly has its ups and downs. Lately, I’ve been praying for God to direct me into a group where I can learn more about Him and apply it in my parenting. Little did I know one tiny Pinterest click (for a free email sign up from Christie) would lead me to such a robust membership site. Now, in hindsight reflection, I know God led me to this group—it’s helping me flourish just as much as it helps me encourage my children to flourish. And the best part is I get to take it with me each time I move.”

Or Sarah, who I mentioned in an earlier lesson who was struggling with her eldest son who was very antagonistic toward any talk of God, and has since had a softened heart. Sarah has two sons in early elementary.

She says, “I feel so blessed to have been connected with you, and that I am inspired by the work the Holy Spirit is doing through you.  Even though it can be so overwhelming to think of all the things I am “supposed” to be doing to make sure my kids grow up connected to Christ, you are able to break them down into the most manageable steps and, as the Lord does, you meet me where I am and guide me.  Thank you so much for everything, Christie.  You have helped me on my own spiritual journey as well as helping me help my kids.”

Or take Shanna, who has twin 7-year old sons, and found that the material was perfect for adding to her homeschool lessons. But that wasn’t her biggest takeaway. Shanna says, “the biggest thing I’ve been learning is that my job as a parent is to seek godly wisdom and to know that it is only Him that can change their hearts. I can’t “save” them – only God can! I can lay the foundation and lead them in prayer and bible time and take them to church. And try to train them up in the way they should go. Lately my prayer has been ‘God I know you love them more than I do and they are your children so I surrender them to you. Take them, mold them, make them all you have created them to be to bring glory to your name. And give me wisdom and guidance to be the best mom I can be for them.” 

the key to making permanent habit changes

You can be equipped too!

Jenica and her husband are missionaries, and discipling our kids had always been a high priority. But she said “the growth path has affirmed and empowered us with greater understanding of how much our kids have grown, where we are at now and what the next steps are. It helps us to notice growth when we would otherwise be unaware.”

Meagan’s children are still very young, but she’s started approaching bedtime differently with her 3 year old. Meagan, like Laura, found that the difference was in her. She had the accountability she needed, because it was right in her face! She didn’t need to go seek it out because it was right there when she opened up Facebook.

Laura, Sarah, Shanna, Meagan, Jenica, and others have found the support, direction, and accountability they needed in HopeGrown Faith. The nature of a monthly membership means that you get a lot of content and support for a low price, and can access it whenever you have time. There’s no pressure to get the most of an incredibly pricey program, but it helps with your personal growth and gives resources to help you spiritually parent your children. 

spiritually lead your child

Yes, you can spiritually lead your child!

To summarize, In the first lesson I taught on how habits are stored in our brains, as well as the three parts of a habit: the cue, the routine, and the reward.

Even though habits are usually formed automatically by a brain trying to save space, we can intentionally create new habits, and we can change old habits.

Then I shared the brain science behind creating a brand new habit, which we applied to family breakfast time. We also talked about how to change an old habit like a child’s bedtime.

Then we talked about keystone habits that initiate great change in our families, as well as the immense power of community in forming faith. 

ANOTHER WAY TO LOOK AT HABITS

If you want another way of approaching the new habit, download the workbook below.

Download the free workbook here!

It talks about the cue, routine, and reward but in a different way. One of the best ways to start a new habit is to attach it to a regular habit that you already have, which can become your cue. Think of it like velcro – the normal, everyday habit is one side of the velcro, and your new habit is the other side. When you stick them together regularly, they become difficult to separate! 

In this workbook, I help you choose both sides of your habit velcro, and stick it together with a reward that will work for your family. Let me know what you discover! 

I hope that this series has been incredibly helpful for you! You can read the rest at the links below:

 

The Full Habit-Formation Series: 

  1. The Power of Simple Spiritual Habits
  2. Starting a Brand New Habit
  3. Changing An Old Habit
  4. The Power of KEYSTONE habits
  5. The SECRET ingredient of habit change