Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Have any habits?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” - Aristotle

Most people use the word "habits" in a negative sense. The word itself does not hold either a positive or negative connotation, but refers to any consistent pattern of behavior that has become so ingrained as to seem reflexive.

Do a time study of your average day/week and you may find you've developed some habits that are not serving you well. On the other hand, how many of the behaviors or actions that add value to your leadership are, in fact, good habits that you've developed over time?

What habits are serving you well in your leadership assignment?

Some of these ( like daily Scripture reading, study, memorization, and prayer) should be automatic but I know more than one pastor who admits that this is still an area of struggle.

Have you considered the power of placing brief phone calls (2 or 3 minutes each) to 5 people in your congregation each day just to let them know that you would be praying for them that day and to see if there was anything specific they would like you to pray for?

One of our district pastors selects 4 or 5 guys each year that he disciples and then they conclude their year together with a mission trip.

Another pastor maintains a consistent schedule at his fitness club that allows him to connect with 3 or 4 guys who are unchurched.

Another pastor I spoke with last week has formed the habit of rising every morning at 4:30 and finds that one change in his routine set in motion a host of other positive changes (i.e. time for exercise, devotions, and clearing his in-box before the rest of the staff arrives).

Another pastor I work with writes a handful of "thank-you" notes each week to let his team members know that they're appreciated.

"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us." - John Dryden


More quotes on habits:

"The unfortunate thing about this world is that good habits are so much easier to give up than bad ones." - Somerset Maugham

"The second half of a man's life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half." - Feodor Dostoevski

"As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives."
- Henry David Thoreau

"I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time." - Charles Dickens

"Sow an act...reap a habit; Sow a habit...reap a character; Sow a character...reap a destiny." George D. Boardman