Five Stages Toward Making Worship a Habit
- Saturday, May 16, 2009
As a family, make a plan. Now you're ready for the action stage. Put your plan to work. Don't be disappointed if you don't have immediate success every week. Any lifestyle change takes time. After all, you're changing many habits all at once. And for a family, you're changing the habits of several people. With any change it's good to make short-term and long-term goals. If you're only going to church occasionally now, you might want to make going to Sunday school and church three times a month for three months a short-term goal and regular attendance a long-term goal.
At the end of three months, reevaluate your plan and make any necessary changes. Challenge yourself even more. Offer to serve in your church in some way and make another short-term goal. Everyone likes a reward and I think habit and lifestyle changes should be rewarded. When you've met your goals, reward yourself and your family in some small way, perhaps with brunch after church at a favorite restaurant. You will find that rewards are built in when it comes to making worship a habit.
As you meet your short-term goal, and make a new short-term goal, you are entering the maintenance stage. It's easy now to let down your guard. You've changed your habits and made a lifestyle change that includes regular worship. But what if job changes, vacation plans, or illness conflicts with worship times? What if one Sunday after another, life just seems to get in the way? Don't worry about it; just start your lifestyle changes again the following week. Remember, it's not relapse unless you never go back to your efforts to change a habit or lifestyle.
Cherry Pedrick is the coauthor of The OCD Workbook Second Edtition, The Habit Change Workbook (also in Polish), The BDD Workbook (also in Polish), Helping Your Child with OCD (also in Chinese), and Loving Someone with OCD: New Harbinger Publications; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Anxiety Disorders: Lerner Publications. You can visit her website at CherryPedrick.com.
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