Can you believe the first month of the year is almost over?! Time definitely flies. In fact, Groucho Marx said, “Time flies like arrows. But fruit flies like bananas.”
Anyway, we’ve been exploring the Shape of Growth and how to develop a process we love. If you’re like me, you try a new habit a couple times before getting discouraged by how meager your results were. If that’s the case, let me encourage you with this truth:
We all go through the valley of disappointment.
Any growth path we undertake will require us to wrestle with the truth that today's habits will pay off tomorrow.
Yesterday’s habits are producing today’s results. Today’s better habits will produce tomorrow’s better results. In other words, the hard work of developing good habits today will not pay off immediately.
So, how do we endure through the valley of disappointment?
Seth Godin says, “The best way to change long-term behavior is with short-term feedback.”
In my case, I measure my progress with an app called “Streaks.” It lets me gamify the process of forming a habit. Basically I become focused on not breaking my streak, rather than focusing on the benefits of a habit, which are usually down the road.
But I’m not just talking about developing habits. My prayer is that we become the person God is calling us to be. The goal isn’t just to read a book, but to become a reader. Not to pray everyday, but to become prayerful. Not to read the scriptures everyday, but be a person who can apply the scriptures.
Short-term feedback for long-term change will help us endure and so enjoy the secret of the stonecutter:
“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it—but all that had gone before.” – Jacob Riis
Keep chipping away.