This is the day of resolutions: I’m going to lose weight! I’m going to eat healthier! I’m cutting up my credit cards! I’m finally quitting smoking! Are they the same resolutions you made last year? What’s going to make this year any different?
In his groundbreaking book The Power of Habit, author Charles Duhigg talks through the Golden Rule of habit change: if you keep the same cue and the same reward, a new (better) routine can be inserted. It’s what has made Alcoholics Anonymous so successful over the decades. But in his research Duhigg found that merely changing a habit isn’t enough for long-term change. For lasting change, two essential things are needed: belief and community.And we know that habits are most malleable when the Golden Rule of habit change is applied: if we keep the same cue and same reward, a new routine can be inserted. But that’s not enough. For a habit to stay changed, people must believe change is possible. And most often, that belief only emerges with the help of a group . . . Belief is essential, and it grows out of a communal experience, even if that community is only as large as two people. (The Power of Habit, 92-93)
Lasting change happens with belief in someone or something greater than yourself. Lasting change happens in community. That’s why the driving passion of Mt Vernon church is creating contagious communities of hope. We can change. We can change together. We can change together because of the hope we have in Jesus.
So to all those resolutions you’re making today, let me add one more to your list: get yourself in church!