Strategic Habits – Start Stop Or Pivot! – Talk Notes

What habits do you need to start, stop, or pivot to reach your goal?

Note: In The Power To Change, this chapter is called, Your Habit and a Plot Twist.

Often when we try to implement positive change in our mental health, we fail because we take a trying approach. We attempt to change by exerting effort in the moment. Based on previous episodes, we now know that trying often leads to failure or burnout. We must implement a training approach that requires discipline to reach our goals. (Groeschel, 2023)

Strategic Habits

A big part of this process is identifying strategic habits that will lead us to our goal. These are specific routines or activities that, when done over time, move us closer to our objective. At times identifying these habits is easy, while other times, it might take a bit of work. Sometimes we might believe a particular habit will lead us there, but after doing the habit, something is not quite right.


The strategic habits that will lead us to our goal are not always obvious. When it comes to mental health, what works for someone else doesn’t work for another person. This can easily paralyze a person. Especially if you just tried something and it failed. Sometimes we have to start somewhere and be willing to make adjustments until we find the solution that works for us.


“What do you most need to stop doing to have what you want most?”
Craig Groeschel

STOP! There are typically many things we know we need to stop doing when it comes to mental health challenges. We have habits that will not lead us to our end goal. If we aim to get more sleep, staying up past 11 pm won’t be a helpful habit. If our goal is to reduce anxiety, ruminating on all the worst-case scenarios won’t help us find peace.

Reduce baseline anxiety level by getting more sleep.

Habit to start:
Keep a basic sleep log to monitor the amount and quality of sleep.

Habit to stop:
staying up past 11 pm each night.

The sleep log was not working because I did not allow enough extra time in my morning routine and put it off until later in the day. By the time I got to it, I would forget the details. My pivot was to get up ten minutes earlier to allow plenty of time in my morning routine.

The end of the matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8


Sometimes, a person is taking positive steps to reach a goal, but they are not working. Does this mean we need to start from scratch? NO. Sometimes we misunderstand everything that needs to occur to reach a particular goal. We start a habit, but maybe we go about it the wrong way. It might be time to pivot.

According to Merriam-Webster, a pivot is “an adjustment or modification made (as to a product, service, or strategy) in order to adapt or improve.” Sometimes we try to improve our mental health, and the ideas we implement fall flat.


The start, stop, and pivot processes can be tricky when aiming for specific outcomes. We know that behavior modification alone won’t lead to any lasting change in our mental health. Lasting change requires personal transformation. This transformation comes through realizing who we want to become, not merely fixing behaviors.

What Frequently Happens

We want certain life changes, so we set a goal and try hard to make it happen. When things don’t happen the way we want them to or as fast as we want them to, we get discouraged and quit. We try again later only to remember our past failures. The cycle continues and often results in a person believing this is how I am. (Groeschel, 2023)

Consider The Cost

Setting a goal is easy when comparing it to what it will take to reach that goal. Our brains are wired to crave a win or sense of achievement. If you are a list person, you probably feel some satisfaction as you check tasks off your list. For you, the win is marking an item off your list.

When Shiny Things Grow Dull

One of the most challenging things about reaching a goal is the time between setting the goal and crossing the finish line. Specifically, it is right after the newness wears off for your shiny goal. That’s when it gets difficult. The new habit or routine is routine, boring, or blah.

You have not seen any positive results in the process, and it is easy to get discouraged. So what do you do?

Plot Twist

“You win when you make doing your habit your win.”
Craig Groeschel

“If you make doing the habit your win, you can win every day.”
Craig Groeschel


Earlier in the notes, I provided an example of a goal, then a habit to start, stop, and pivot. Below I want you to complete the same exercise.

Repeat the exercise as many times as you need.

Here’s a reminder of one of the examples:

Goal: Get closer to God.
Habit to start: Reading the Bible daily or attending a small-group Bible study.

Habit to stop: hitting snooze in the morning or planning things on the weekend that prevent church attendance.

Pivot: I was not finding success trying to read my Bible in the kitchen during breakfast. Instead, I’ll move outside to the covered porch for a quieter environment.



Habit to start:

Habit to stop:


Complete the following sentence.

When I have an off day or a time where I don’t win, I commit to [blank] to stay on track:

Example: Tell my accountability partner so I do not miss more than one day.


“Make doing your habit your win.”
Craig Groeschel

“You don’t have to win every day to win.”
Craig Groeschel

The end of the matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8


Groeschel, C. (2023). The Power to Change: Mastering the Habits That Matter Most. Zondervan.

Craig Booker

Craig Booker

I'm the founder of Overflow. Through its newsletter, podcast, community group, and YouTube channel, Overflow helps you improve your well-being.


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