For a long time I had devotionals off and on. I wanted to be consistent, but I just wasn’t. When I decided to get serious, these are the tips and tricks that I found most helpful to me.
The devotional process I use is called "Life Journaling," but these tips will help you stick to just about any devotional routine.
- Pick the best time for you. Choose the time of day when you’re at your best and that will work best for your schedule.
- Pick a place. If you have a certain place where you read and respond to God’s Word, it will help establish the habit.
- Use triggers. Associate your life journaling with a part of your already established routine. For example, read while the coffee is brewing. Or don’t go on to the next part of your day until you’ve done your Life Journaling. For example, don’t turn on the computer until you’ve Life Journaled. Or don’t eat breakfast until you’ve Life Journaled.
- Stay on schedule. If you miss a few readings, don’t try to read a bunch to catch up! Pick up with the current reading rather than getting overwhelmed by trying to catch up. This way you’re never behind and you’re reading the same thing as everyone else on that day. Alternately, if you want to read without skipping passages, just work through the schedule one "day" at a time, regardless of the date.
- Tell a friend. Share your insights with a friend by email, text, on the phone, or face-to-face. You’ll reinforce the lesson to yourself and encourage someone else.
- Use tags. Mark the sections of your daily journaling. Use a letter with a box around it for each section: "S" for Scripture, "O" for observations, "A" for application, and "P" for prayer.
- Choose writing over reading, if you must. If time will keep you from doing all the reading and writing in your journal, do less of the reading and make sure to write about it. This way you are doing both important parts of the journaling process: reading and responding. The ultimate issue is not how much information you take in, it’s how your life will be different because of what you read. Journaling your response prompts life change.
What tips and tricks have worked best for you when establishing new habits?