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This overlooked cousin to goal-setting is actually more powerful

If goals are the prom queen of culture, then habits are its wallflower cousin with secret ninja skills.

What I mean is that goals get a lot of attention. They’re touted as the tool that successful people use to rise above the crowd. Got a dream? A vision? A mission? What you need is a road map, and goals create one.

Habits, on the other hand, are less glamorous. They’re the small, routine choices we make day after day, year after year. Like flossing.

No one ever wrote a motivational best-seller about flossing.

The one habit you need in the new year

Perhaps because we’re creatures of habit, we overlook how powerful these daily actions can be. In The Jesus-Centered Life, author Rick writes that a single, simple change to a core habit in your life can change everything for the better. And here’s the habit you need to do it:

Center your life on Jesus.

Here's what this habit looks like--

What does this habit look like? Because I know that eating carrots every day is easier to execute—just sayin’.

Namely, this habit looks like having a steady back-and-forth conversation with Jesus all day (or as the Apostle Paul called it, to pray without ceasing). Naturally, this is both harder and easier than it seems.

It’s harder because we’re easily distracted. We talk to ourselves incessantly. We overload our schedules. Frankly, we prefer Netflix. Having a ceaseless conversation with Jesus is just not something we’re great at it.

The good news is that unlike other habits involving celery and lugging around free weights, the Holy Spirit is dedicated to helping us. He’s like a fitness trainer who’s actually willing to do the hard work himself while we get the benefit. Centering on Jesus is also easier because it doesn’t require a lot of rules or programs or systems. There are no checklists, no benchmarks, no agendas. It’s just talking and listening. You do this every day as naturally as breathing.

So here’s what you do to build a habit of centering on Jesus

You know that inner voice in your head that you’re always talking to? The one that reviews your appointments for the day with you, and rehashes the argument you had with your spouse on the way out the door? The voice that helps you rehearse conversations with kids, and talks to you about your weight and your image and your feelings?

Yes—that voice.

Whenever you catch yourself talking to that voice, redirect your conversation to Jesus instead. To help, pretend he’s sitting next to you or walking beside you. You wouldn’t walk next to someone and ignore them in preference for your own thoughts, would you? Of course not. That would be awkward. Instead, tell Jesus what your inner voice is saying. And then do the thing polite people do: listen to what he has to say.

Do this every day starting now. Build the only habit that truly matters this year, and see how it changes your life.

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