Book of the Quarter — Your Future Self Will Thank You

Your Future Self Will Thank You: Secrets to Self-Control from the Bible and Brain Science (A Guide for Sinners, Quitters, and Procrastinators), by Dre Dyck, © 2019 by Drew Dyck, Moody Publishers, Chicago

On the fifth Tuesday of each quarter of the year, I like to share a book I’ve read recently. I highlight “mustard seeds” that impress me. I hope you find one or two that will be helpful to you.

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Self-control isn’t just one good character trait, a nice addition to the pantheon of virtues. It’s foundational. Not because it’s more important than other virtues, but because the others rely upon it (page 14, Kindle Edition).

“Whenever you lose control, someone else always finds it.” These were the words of my high school English teacher Mr. Sologar on our first day of class.

“No, control is never truly lost,” he repeated in his thick Indian accent. “If you fail to control yourself, others will control you” (page 16, Kindle Edition).

There’s something even scarier to me than an absence of self-control: developing self-control for the wrong reasons (page 35, Kindle Edition).

IF MY RESEARCH HAS TAUGHT ME anything, it’s this: start small. Don’t do too much right away and don’t start too many things at once. The reason? It takes a lot of willpower to forge new habits, and your willpower is limited (page 70, Kindle Edition).

“The strength of a man’s virtue should not be measured by his special exertions, but by his habitual acts” —BLAISE PASCAL (page 114, Kindle Edition).

But a closer look reveals that every habit has three distinct parts: a cue, a routine, and a reward. The cue is a trigger, an external signal that prompts your brain to go into an automatic mode. The cue initiates a routine, the behavior you perform. Finally there’s the reward, some kind of payoff that reinforces the behavior. The more often you run through this sequence, the more powerful the habit becomes. Soon the cue produces strong emotions, even cravings. Eventually, when you encounter a cue it’s almost impossible to resist engaging in the routine to receive the reward. It’s a vicious—or virtuous—circle (page 121, 122, Kindle Edition).

“A nail is driven out by another nail. Habit is overcome by habit,” wrote the sixteenth-century theologian Desiderius Erasmus. Five centuries later we understand just how right he was (page 128, 129, Kindle Edition).

When trying to establish a new, healthy habit, start small. If you try to do too much on Day One you’ll drain your willpower and fail to repeat the behavior the next day. And without repetition, new habits can’t take hold (page 129, Kindle Edition).

Another cardinal rule of habit formation: be consistent. Don’t run first thing in the morning one day, and go for an evening jog the next. Pick a time and try to stick with it. If you’re trying to read your Bible every day, try to do it at the same time, in the same room, in the same chair. When it comes to making a habit stick, familiarity is key (page 130, Kindle Edition).

Habits are hard. They’re not shortcuts or life hacks. Yes, eventually they enable us to live better lives without exhausting our willpower, but they start with a burst of effort. Our brains are lazy. Our wills are weak. Our nature is bent. Even if we employ all the approaches outlined above, it still takes sweat and struggle and striving to break the inertia of your old ways of doing things and move in a new direction (page 135, Kindle Edition).

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. There is no additional charge to you.

To find more information or buy this book on Amazon, click on the link:

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Jerrie Barber
Servant of Jesus, husband to Gail, father to Jerrie Wayne Barber, II and Christi Parsons, grandfather, great-grandfather, Interim Preacher, Shepherd coach, Ventriloquist, barefoot runner, ride a cruiser bicycle

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