“What if you had met Elon Musk in 1995 when he left Stanford University to start his first software company?”1
“What if you’d met Simone Biles when she was fourteen years old and competing in her first classic gymnastics event in her hometown of Houston, Texas?”1
Would you have been able to spot something different in either of these examples ten-plus years ago?
“What if I told you I could predict what your life will be like in ten years?“1
What if I could tell whether you’ll be:1
- Better off financially
- Closer to God
- More together than ever
- In a circle of good friends
“Because your habits today are telegraphing your future. The life you are living right now is shaping the life you will live tomorrow.”1
“We all have the best intentions, but intentions don’t determine direction. Actions do.”1
“We all have hopes. But hoping for a different future doesn’t lead to a different future. Hope doesn’t change your life. Habits do.”1
“So if you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what You’ve been getting. The life you’re living today is shaping the life you’ll live tomorrow.”1
“The life you want can be the life you’re living in ten years. But you will not get there because of your intentions, your hopes, or a few ‘lucky breaks.'”1
Two Essential Components
Let’s focus on two essential components you’ll need to become the you that you want to be.1
“The first component is ‘small.’ Remember: the small things no one sees can lead to the big results everyone wants. The issue with small things is that they are easy to do but also easy not to do. They never seem significant. Ignoring or skipping them always feels acceptable. But you sculpt your life with the small stuff.”1
“The second component is ‘consistent.’ Doing the small thing once is insignificant. Doing the right small things over and over has magnitude you cannot measure.”1
“…getting the life you want will be the result of countless seemingly small decisions, done consistently over time.”1
The Story of Nehemiah
Nehemiah was the cupbearer for Artaxerxes, the King of Persia.1
The Babylonians invaded Jerusalem during Daniel’s time, seventy years before Nehemiah.1
The Babylonians destroyed the city and took most of the people. Some Jews remained in Jerusalem.1
When Nehemiah heard how bad Jerusalem was, he “sat down and wept” (Neh. 1:4).
Nehemiah believed he could make a difference, so he took responsibility.1
“For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven” Neh. 1:4).
Nehemiah began with prayer, which is the right place to start. When you don’t know what to do, go to the one who does.1
Nehemiah was strategic in getting permission to leave and go rebuild the wall.1
Nehemiah told the people of Jerusalem about his plan. He passionately convinced the people they had to do something.1
Just as Nehemiah rebuilt the wall. “We will change our lives one small habit at a time.”1
“…getting the life you want will be the result of countless seemingly small decisions, done consistently over time.”
Nehemiah slowly built up momentum. Optimism began to grow as well.
Much like Nehemiah faced resistance from Sanballat and Tobiah, we will face resistance.1
You might hear whispers like:1
- What are you doing?
- Will you really restore this part of your life?
- Do you think you can accomplish this in a day?
- That part of your life is dead.
- You think you can bring it back to life?
You are likely to find yourself at that same place. It usually happens like this:1
- You begin by defining a win.
- You make some progress and feel good about it.
- You realize you still have a long way to go.
There’s a good chance after you make some headway, you will discover the journey is longer and harder than you first imagined. At this point you might think to yourself that you thought you would be further along by now. It will be tempting to quit here.1
Like Nehemiah, when we get discouraged it’s a sign that we need to go to God in prayer.1
“Nehemiah knew a truth we need to understand: we cannot consistently do the right things over the long haul, in our own power.”1
“We need power we don’t possess. We need God’s power.”1
“Here’s another huge truth for us to learn: we must value progress over perfection.”1
“You will trip. You will fall. Your journey won’t be perfect. But keep moving in the right direction. Your goal is not perfection, it’s progress.”1
“So on October 2 the wall was finished-just fifty-two days after we had begun” (Neh. 6:15 NLT).
“For 140 years the people lived in danger without a wall.”1
“Change took fifty-two days.”1
What strategic habit do you need to start? 1
- Spending ten minutes a day in prayer?
- Limiting your time on Instagram to thirty minutes or less a day?
- Walking a mile after dinner each night?
- Writing three things you’re thankful for in a gratitude journal at the end of every day?
- Taking the first ten minutes of each day to prioritize and plan your time?
- Planning a weekly date with your spouse or kid?
- Tithing, to help you grow your trust in God?
All of these habits are easy to do. The thing about strategic habits is that they are easy to do and easy not to do. Knowing the impact that your strategic habit might have on your life is essential to consistently do your habit.1
“For years psychologists told us that a habit could be formed in just twenty-one days. Recent studies have refuted that finding, reporting that, for the average person, it takes sixty-six days to create a lasting habit.”1, 2
What habit do you need to strategically stop? 1
- Using a credit card?
- Raising your voice in anger?
- Hanging out with friends who have a negative influence on you?
- Watching a certain TV show?
- Spending money on things (cable TV, Netflix, Starbucks, eating out for lunch, etc.) that keep you from paying off debt?
“I know this: Each day, the effect will seem inconsequential. You may not see any difference at first. But change is happening. You are changing your life.”
What area of your life is not what it was or what it should be?1
Begin with prayer. Ask God to help you develop a strategy.1
List a few bricks you can focus on in the next few days to take
small and consistent steps.1
We need a power we don’t possess.1
Value progress over perfection.1
“LORD, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night.”
 Groeschel, C. (2023). The Power to Change: Mastering the Habits That Matter Most. Zondervan.
 Jessica Dickler, “As Inflation Heats Up, 64% of Americans Are Now Living Paycheck to Paycheck,” CNBC.com, March 8, 2022, www.cnbc.com/2022/03/08/as-prices-rise-64-percent-of
americans-live-paycheck-to-paycheck.html; Andrew Herrig, “Personal Finance Statistics 2021: Shocking Facts on Money, Debt, and More,” Wealthy Nickel, January 9, 2021, wealthynickel.com/personal-finance-statistics, Erin El Issa, *2021 American Household Credit Card Debt Study,” NerdWallet, January 11, 2022, www.nerdwallet.com/blog/average-credit-card-debt-household.