The most common new year resolutions are to eat right, exercise more, lose weight, learn something new, and quit bad habits. A new year is an opportunity to form new spiritual habits.

For some, the anticipation of a new year is filled with new possibilities and opportunities. It makes room for deep reflection of the year gone by and the year head. It can give you new motivation to reset and restart.

While for others, the thought of a new year can bring anxiety and fear. The loss of friends, missed opportunities, failure to achieve goals, or unfulfilled dreams can lay heavy on our hearts.

While some have exuberant optimism, others can feel a stinging cynicism at the thought of a new year.

Whatever your situation and emotional state, as we approach a new year, let us recognise that these rhythms are God’s gracious gift.

They are a reminder that he is at work in our lives. He continues to give us new opportunities and grace to live for his glory.

How do we make this new year season more purposeful and intentional?

Personally, I detest making resolutions. I am quite realistic when it comes to my ability to follow through on what I resolve to do. But I have learned the power of habit and the formation of habits in community.

The Power of Habit Formation

Easy to Form, Difficult to Break

Habits are what we do without having to think about it. The task is completed without much effort as it is intuitive and part of our routine.

Habits are formed over a period of time through frequent repetition. When you drive home from work, you do not think about the turns and stops and yet reach home safely.

Our bad habits are not only shaping our behaviour; they are influencing our beliefs.

We are creatures of habits, formed either intentionally or forced upon us by circumstances and people. For some, our children determine our social life or what time we go to bed. Our bosses may determine what we do on weekends.

If we are not careful, these unsuspecting habits begin to reshape what we love and desire, not just our routine.

How is it so hard to switch off our phones when we spend time with our children? Why does it feel impossible to take a break from social media? Why can’t we go to God in prayer and read Scripture before looking at our phones?

It is because in a deeper level, we believe that unless we are connected constantly, respond instantly, and work incessantly, our life will fall apart or we will get left behind.

Shaping Behaviour. Revealing Beliefs.

Our bad habits are not only shaping our behaviour; they are influencing our beliefs.

For some, the very thought of forming new habits by breaking old habits can cause discomfort and fear—even if the old habits are harmful or useless.

Habits not only reveal our deeply held beliefs; they influence our personal and spiritual formation.

It is so powerful, Jesus uses the metaphorical language of cutting off our limbs to deal with sinful patterns (Matt. 5:30).

The apostle Paul uses athletes as an example to instruct us. He says, “But I discipline my body and keep it under control” (1 Cor. 9:27).

The Power of New Spiritual Habits in Community

Personally, I have found that most of my healthy habits are formed in community. On the other hand, lazy, unproductive habits are formed in isolation.

Habit-forming needs some intentionality on our part. But it does not happen independently. We need the power of community.

There is a recent shift in how people work out. Earlier people exercised alone but now working out has become a communal endeavour.

In your desire to form new habits, find someone with whom you can build them.

People connect, motivate, and keep each other accountable. This creates momentum but also makes demanding workouts enjoyable.

In your desire to form new habits, find someone with whom you can build them.

Join your spouse or your children in discussing new habits you can start. Some habits can be done as friends or as a small group. For some, you can even involve your work colleagues.

A communal effort creates purpose and makes the process worthwhile. I seem to pray regularly when I am praying with someone.

Growing up, I read the bible with friends—sharing insights, and learning together. I become more vulnerable when I am in the habit of meeting with others for care and counsel.

This does not mean you do not pray or read the bible alone. But these communal efforts help begin a new habit or sustain us during testing times.

Some New Habits to Consider

  1. Consider habits in the following domains of life: Personal, family, and community.
  2. Create a practical rhythm for these habits: Daily, weekly, monthly, or annual.
  3. Look for someone you can join to build these habits.
  4. Start small and stick to it. When you fall back, start again.
  5. Avoid making habits legalistic and expect change over a long period of time.

Daily, Weekly, Monthly, and Annual Habits to Consider


  • Pray and read Scripture before checking your phone.
  • Pray at night using The Daily Examen, a reflective prayer resource.
  • One meal with your family together.


  • Meet with someone for coffee to share your heart with and to encourage one another.
  • Date night with your spouse.
  • Sabbath rest from digital media.


  • Fast once a month from food and entertainment.
  • Fun activity with your children.
  • Prayer and meditative retreat.


  • Family vacation.
  • Spiritual or personal training or conference.
  • Extended time with friends for soul care.

The Spiritual Habit of Pursuing Christ

Often times God’s grace is enjoyed in the daily rhythms of life and work; not only in extraordinary situations.

The Bible warns us that a person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls (Prov. 25:28). Such a person is vulnerable and defenceless to the pressures of this world and Satan.

God also cautions us that without vision and purpose, people perish (Prov. 29:18). These habits can be a powerful source of forming us to love God and love our neighbour.

In our effort to pursue these habits, let us pursue Christ.

These good habits and our pursuit of it can easily become an idol in itself. When we are consistent, we feel elated and proud. When we fail, we get discouraged and upset.

Remember, Jesus has done the perfect work required for our salvation. Our identity and self-worth is hidden in him.

With the new heart we receive from him, we are no longer legalistic about our habits but we are fuelled by the grace of God. It becomes a means to enjoy Christ and his people that leads us to freedom and joy.