How Long Will It Take You To Change?

Charles Duhigg, writing in The Power of Habit, suggests it takes 30 days to exchange a bad habit for a better one. Dr. Henry Cloud, author of many books you should read beginning with Boundaries, says actually the number is closer to 60 days.

Tom Peters writing in The Pursuit of WOW! says actually it takes just a nanosecond—one billionth of a second.

He knows what every Baptist preacher knows—you make the decision in an instant.

Why do you think that pretty much all Christian writing after the Gospels talks about how to live?

Because, after the decision, after that nanosecond, you’ll spend years living it out. Developing the change.

In Christianity it’s called discipleship. Jesus-followers are instructed by the guy their following to “make disciples.” That means you don’t get people to make The Decision and then move on to the next one. You now have a responsibility for what happens after the nanosecond.

That is where knowing the spiritual disciplines—spiritual practices—comes in. The disciplining process in many, if not most, churches if it even exists, leaves much to be desired.

And there is no time like now to realize that having developed the spiritual practices in a daily discipline helps get you through the day. Probably minimizes the inevitable frictions of being around the same people all day every day for who knows how long.

In Ancient Greek the word for spirit and the word for breath is the same word. For good reason. Need a refreshing of the spirit just now? Inhale deeply. Hold for a moment. Exhale slowly. Four times. Feel the relaxation.

Now, you’re ready to face the day. Or the next hour.

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