Last year I stole an idea from Kim C.'s New Year's goals. Last year I failed at it. But this year, it seems to be working like a charm, so I thought I'd post on it, both to hold myself accountable, and to possibly encourage you to try something similar.
It's simple, really. It's a matter of using something you're addicted to in order to train yourself to do something you strongly desire to implement. In my case, it involves not allowing myself to have computer time until I've done my Bible reading for the day. For most of my life I've struggled with having a consistent daily Bible reading time. But I've realized that with three small children in the house, expecting to have a set time for Bible reading is unrealistic.
I do, however, seem to manage to miraculously find time to get on the computer every day, which destroys my "no time" excuse. It only proves that my priorities are out of whack. So I've decided to use that to my advantage.
Now, before I even allow myself to sit down and check who sent email, or who's blogged, I make sure I've read my Bible. It may be several chapters, or perhaps just the Proverb chapter that corresponds to the day of the month. Reading the kids a Genesis chapter counts, as does attending Bible study (if we actually read a chunk of scripture that day). Surprisingly, I somehow seem to now fit in my reading by the time the kids are down for nap.
This has made me realize two things. First, I knew I was addicted to the computer, but I didn't realize quite how strong the pull was until I wasn't allowing myself to get on just at any ol' time. (Pulling myself away from it was giving me a gasping-for-air sort of feeling for the first few days!) Second, I'm seeing how being faithful to remain in the scriptures has given me a desire to read them even more.
The secondary benefit has been cutting my time "wasted" at the computer, since I used to do alot of just piddling around for fun. Now, since my time is fairly limited, I choose more wisely.
While it may seem like just an obligatory approach, the effects are similar to any training in self-discipline. It may start out as a "just going through the motions" ritual, but the Lord blesses that time and uses it to fill the mind and heart with His truths---and they shall never return to Him void.