A Symphony of Habits

An Introduction to Daily Movements

This series is continued in these posts:

Habits have become a popular marker in conversations among those who do knowledge or creative work. Or for those who think about personal or spiritual growth. Though not a new topic, books like The Power of Habit, Atomic Habits, and Tiny Habits are just a few recent books that have had widespread dialogue surround them.

Each of these books talks not only about the value and importance of habits, but also about choosing the right habits. They acknowledge that who we become is the sum of our habits, and that sometimes it’s as much about saying no to some habits as it is about choosing the right ones to say yes to.

I’ve always found this a challenge myself as there are more things I want to try, more things I want to learn about, or more things I want to do.

Choosing habits should be about recognizing your ideal self, and who you want to become. In some ways, that might mean choosing habits the prepare you for a future role or vocation — whether you want to prepare to be a parent, or grow in a skill.

But I’m in a season where I’m also seeing the value of holistically thinking about habits. There is a need to not only make sure my habits are forming who I hope to become, but also caring for all the parts of myself.

With that in mind, I’ve developed a framework of Daily Movements. Movements is an idea borrowed from classical music. Classical compositions aren’t songs that build around a single melody, but a themed collection of pieces with varying tempos and dynamics. Together, they form a broad emotional range, and the complete vision, of the composition. 

Likewise, Daily Movements are collections of habits or rhythms focused on growing and living a balanced life. What are the areas of my life where I want to make sure I am healthy, or at least moving that way? How can I be certain that I am growing fully, and not just in a rut of focusing on one thing? Daily Movements are a larger framework to see your habits through, and recognize where you might be lacking, or where you might be focusing too much, in your own growth and development.

What are the Daily Movements?

In the ancient teachings of Jesus, I found my framework for daily movements. They come from one of Jesus’ two great commandments:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

I was a pastor for many years, so I bristle a bit to reduce Jesus’ words here to a daily framework. I recognize that to simplify this to categories for daily routines falls far short of all that Jesus had to say here. But, I do think that part of Jesus’ intent here is to describe your whole self, as it would have been understood at that time, as the heart, soul, mind and strength.

So, too, I see an opportunity to reflect on my whole self through the lens of heart, soul, mind and strength. I view my own regular habits and rhythms through these four lenses. How am I cultivating health and growth in each of these areas? And really…what exactly are each of these areas?

So, this post begins a series on these Daily Movements. In the weeks to come, I’ll write more about how you might take on habits to cultivate growth in each of these areas. I’ll share more in depth about how you can be diligent in your approach to forming your heart and mind, your soul and strength. And finally I will wrap it all up with some practical tools on how you can take on these Daily Movements.

About John Chandler

I am a spiritual director, occasional podcaster, and a freelance WordPress developer.

I am also interested in finding meaningful ways of living beyond my work, which seems to include a lot of reading, watching baseball (Angels!) or football (Broncos!), playing board games, eating salsa, and wishing I was hiking more. Oh, and coffee.

I live on the desert edge of Phoenix with my family – with previous stops in Austin and outside Seattle as a grown-up, and SoCal and Colorado as a youngster.

You can find more of my meanderings on my micro.blog.

Photo by Marius Masalar

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