“We are, all of us, creatures of habit.” – Edgar Rice Burroughs
Bad habits are difficult to break and new, healthy habits are not easy to establish.
Studies show that It can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit and an average of 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic. If an experience is pleasurable, the habit is more quickly established. If something takes tremendous effort, it takes more time.
During this past year, all of us established new habits while breaking old routines. Now, we put on masks and sanitize our hands without thinking. For some people, sleeping routines have been radically altered. If you have been working from home, the morning shower and dressing for work became less necessary. The gyms were closed, so exercise routines were broken (who wants to workout, outside?). Unhealthy habits crept in due to isolation and anonymity (Someone said that Covid-19 has to do with 19 lbs. of weight gain. Jokes were made about “binge-watching all of Netflix”, and drinking on the job became a real issue for many).
Church attendance was disrupted and replaced with online church. Now that churches are open, many are slow to return for in-person services. For those who face health risks, online church is an excellent new habit to have. Yet some never established the online church routine. Others discovered a more comfortable Sunday routine without church. This has been a time where our faith has been tested. As the threat of Covid declines, there will come a time for all to decide what new habits of worship and fellowship need to be established. What unhealthy habits need to be broken and replaced with something better?
Hebrews 10: 25 says, “Don’t stop meeting together with other believers, which some people have gotten into the habit of doing. Instead, encourage each other, especially as you see the day drawing near.”
We need the mutual encouragement of one another. Your presence is an encouragement to others. Spiritual health, discipleship, accountability, and edification happen as we gather for corporate worship, prayer, and exhortation. It happens both online and in-person.
I am not trying to rush anyone to return too quickly. Rather, this is meant to be a gentle challenge to examine the new habits that you are forming during this unusual time.