Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Habit Swap - Revisited

I mentioned our loopchange Habit Swap plan a few days ago and I included the Fox26 Morning Show interview.  I have another video that goes over the principles of that SWAP plan and I'm including it below just in case any of you prefer 'listening' over 'reading'.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



We had one of my favorite missions completed a few weeks ago and unfortunately I have just gotten around to blogging about it.  Loopchange user Lt. Dan completed 21 days of volunteering for some cause or another.  It wasn't 21 days in a row, but it was 21 days total (completed in less than two months, so still quite a commitment)!

Dan did not have a history of volunteer work.  In fact, he had already ever volunteered for anything before, but he took the bull by the horns and poured himself into this mission.  He spread his time around a bit, spending an evening or two with a young man in the foster care system who needed a couple of rides around town; spending some time doing clerical work for a local Christian group  and bringing his young children to hand out cookies at Halloween at a local retirement home.

But it turned out that most of his days were spent befriending a lonely World War II veteran at an assisted living facility.  Over the course of his mission, Dan spent a number of hours forming a friendship and building a bond with his new 90 year old friend.  They talked about life and death.  They talked about family and hobbies.  They talked about Jesus and God; repentance and forgiveness. 

I think Dan summed it up well when he said, "I believe it really is true what people say, when you put yourself out there in an effort to help other people, you actually end up helping yourself."

I know that as I was reading through this mission over the course of 21 days, I was struck by how many opportunities there are out there to help.  It could be helping people directly, or it could be helping at an organization where they help people directly.  It could be lending a hand to a neighbor.  It could be a passing word of encouragement to a working person that you cross paths with.  It could be donating blood or money or old clothes or old toys.  Speaking only for myself, I know that I get incredibly wrapped up in ME.  Often times there is not an ounce of room for anyone in my brain who is not ME.  That's just the wrong way to live. 

Dan is on to something here.  Imagine what could be accomplished if even 1/4 of US citizens found ways to volunteer?  We could change the world!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reading the Bible in 90 Days by K5

This post is long overdue as K5 completed this mission several weeks ago.  I'm afraid I'm just now getting around to getting it moved over here though.  To quickly run through the gist of the mission, there is a book called The Bible (kidding), there is a version of The Bible which removes all footnotes, comments and everything else.  Once all of those things are removed, one can work their way through The Bible in 90 days by reading 12 pages per day.  K5 says that it took her 30-45 minutes per day to accomplish her reading.  Beyond that, there is a DVD and you watch one segment per week (~40 minutes).

K5 was able to finish in 88 days and here was her summary - click the play button and then continue reading (the video offers the soundtrack for the mission summary):


Today was the day. I finished. I have to say the finale was a little bit anti-climactic since I didn't really understand much of what I read in Revelation.

But, looking back over the past 90 days this has really been an amazing experience. First of all, just the fact that I stuck to the program for 90 days and completed all of the reading is a tremendous accomplishment for me. In my life, most of the time, I've been a quitter. I've been someone who quits projects 25-50% finished. I've been someone who focuses on "can't" instead of "will" and finishing this mission really gives me a boost of confidence in those areas.

I know some of you reading this aren't Christians. I'm not trying to preach at you here. I'm just trying to summarize my experience as briefly as I can.

Now for the reading itself. I've heard a pastor at my church say before: "God made man in His image and ever since; man has been trying to return the favor". I didn't realize how much that phrase applied to me until I'd read the entire Bible. I have to be honest, God is not who I thought He was. There was a LOT in there that surprised me. There was a lot in there that I'd have said (if asked) "nah, that doesn't sound like something the God I worship would do". There was a LOT in there that was hard to swallow. But at the same time, I learned that "my" God was no match for the God of the Bible.

In general, I was struck by his faithfulness, his love for his people, his compassion and the things he requires that we do in order to have a close relationship with him. I began (for the first time) to understand what the phrase "God-fearing" really means. I began to see that my image of God was very inconsistent with what the Bible portrays.

All in all - I feel my eyes were opened. I feel awful that I let my own insecurities (I'll never be able to understand what is being said) prevent me from doing this long ago. But I'm thrilled that I'm here now. To read it in 90 days you really have to blaze through pages. I am really looking forward to some more in depth analysis and study of different books in the bible and I now feel like I'm "ready" for that.

Thanks everyone for your support along the way. It is greatly appreciated and having real world accountability combined with accountability here played a tremendous role in my successful completion.

Thank you, loopchange!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Habit SWAP Plan

It is a big day in loopchange history as we have had our first television coverage on a local news station in Houston, Texas (Fox 26).  Thanks to all who have visited the site for your contributions along the way!

I'll post the link below, but in the mean time here is the Loopchange Habit SWAP Plan that was discussed.

One of the great blessings of being involved at loopchange has been the incredible opportunity to read along with people as they are trying to make genuine changes in their lives.  I've seen people post a single time and never come back and I've seen people who have been at the site for six or more months.  Because I read and follow every mission and every post that is made on the site, it has become clear to me that the missions with staying power have four common elements.  That is where the SWAP comes in.  If you really want to succeed, I recommend that you make sure any mission you are involved in has these elements:


Specific - You MUST be specific with your goals.  "I want to read the Bible more" will almost always fail.  "I will read my Bible every day" is on the right track.  "I want to eat healthier" will almost always fail.  "I will cut soft drinks and junk food from my diet" or "I will track my calories and keep them under 1600" will have a much greater chance for success.

Write it down - There is something about writing a mission down that is powerful.  Suddenly our goal seems real.  It is almost like a ceremonial 'ok, I am serious about this'.  Writing down your mission gets it front and center in your brain; which is right where it needs to say for quite a long time.  To change something, you must be intentional.  To be intentional, you must always be aware of what you're trying to do.  

Accountability - It takes a village to raise a child.  It also takes a village to change a habit.  You will need accountability, support and encouragement to get where you want to go.  Trying to do something all on your own is so hard that it isn't even worth trying.  Why do it the hard way??  Make sure you have these things and your chance of success grows significantly.  Loopchange is perfect for this (this is what the site was made for) but I would always encourage folks to get real world accountability as well.  Tell your family.  Tell your friends.  There is no shame in asking others to help you.  Asking for help does not make you weak; it makes you strong!

Patience - The greatest enemy of change is impatience, I'm convinced of that.  We get discouraged when the results are not coming as quickly as we would like them to.  We want to give up when things aren't as easy as we'd hoped they would be.  Patience is absolutely essential because patience is what will get you through the rough patches and the struggles (and there will definitely be rough patches and struggles). 

Now, on to our feature presentation: