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Hacking Church: How to attend service 52 weeks in a row

Hacking Church: How to attend service 52 weeks in a row

    I think it’s safe to say that many people have the desire to attend church more consistently and improve their spiritual life. On this date last year, I was not a member of a church and I rarely attended any church services. On February 26, 2006 I set a personal goal for myself to attend church for an entire year without missing a single week. This coming Sunday, will make it 52 weeks in a row that I attended church without skipping even once. I will give you tips on how to find a church, and how I to find the motivation to attend every week for an entire year.

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    Keep in mind that your church won’t be perfect
    The first step prior to attending church on a regular basis is to actually choose a church. When I set my goal to attend church for an entire year I was not a member of any church. In fact, I was deep in the “church-shopping” process and did not have a church I attended regularly. Finding a church was the most difficult part of my journey. I visited several (probably over 10 churches) before I came to the realization (thanks in part to the Purpose Driven Life and my girlfriend) that no church is absolutely perfect. What I mean by that is (in my opinion) no church will match your tastes on every facet. I think you could spend years visiting various churches and never be totally satisfied with any of the churches you visit. Gaining satisfaction with your church will take time. Rather, you have to find a church that will satisfy you enough to motivate you to keep coming week after week.

    Get to know the members
    For the past four or five years I’ve attended various churches (I’ve moved a few times) without ever being a member. I would go to church, sit quietly by myself in the back and leave immediately at the end of church. I am in the process of becoming a member of a local church and I have learned an important lesson. You cannot get to know a church without getting to know the members. This lesson took me many months, if not years, to finally figure out.

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    Get involved with the church
    Getting involved with some facet of your church (whether volunteering, ushering, reading, or joining a committee) will increase your accountability for attendance. Besides the benefits to your community (and the spiritual gains you experience) by volunteering at your church, you inherently gain a great deal of accountability in regards to attending weekly. I had the mindset of “how can I serve on so-and-so committee and not go to service on Sunday? How would that look? What would people think of me?” I’m not advocating making a huge time commitment or attending service simply to not look bad in the eyes of your congregation, but offering to fill a position in the church will definitely motivate you to at least make a weekly appearance and keep you motivated to achieve your attendance goal.

    Substitute Saturday night for Friday night
    The number one barrier preventing me from reaching my goal was the desire to sleep in. Previously I posted about how I get up at 5AM Monday through Friday. By Friday night I would be pretty tired, so I would tend to stay in and go out on Saturday night. This social schedule makes getting up for church very difficult on Sunday (especially after a few too many “adult beverages” on Saturday night). This tip is more common sense than anything else, but switching Friday to my big social night allowed me to relax on Saturday night, and in turn, have no problem getting up for church on Sunday morning.

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    Promise someone
    Whether it is yourself or a loved one, promising someone that you will attend church every Sunday will help motivate you. In my weight loss article, I made a comment about the importance of making your diet public. I think this mindset can be applied to attending church as well. Tell someone that you plan to attend every Sunday — this will increase your accountability leaps and bounds. If you would rather keep this information to yourself, write it down and put it somewhere that you will see it every day (fridge door, bathroom mirror, inside your wallet, etc.).

    Go with a friend or loved one
    77% of church-goers that attend service with a friend report happiness in their spiritual life. Try bringing a friend, a family member, or a significant other to church with you. Besides making the experience more enjoyable and meaningful, having confirmed plans to attend church with someone else will increase your accountability.

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    Rationalize the time

      I gained some motivation to attend church by comparing the amount of time the church-going process takes to the length of the entire week. My church service (including travel time) is only 1.5 hours total and that is only .89% of the week (168 hours/week). I also rationalize the length of the church service as half of a movie, three sitcoms, less than two episodes of Prison Break, etc. whatever works for you.

      Conclusion
      At first, I was motivated by making my attendance “mandatory” and comparing the amount of time I was spending at church to other “lazy” activities I enjoyed. I was able to balance making myself accountable and not feeling pressured to attend. As time progressed and I got more comfortable attending church, the motivation to attend became inherent. I started noticing major improvements in my spiritual life. By attending church every week for 52 weeks, I was able to meet many people, strengthen my faith, improve my personality, become more involved in my community, and most importantly strengthen my relationship with God. If you think that 52 weeks seems daunting, try setting smaller goals for yourself like attending 3 out of 4 weeks per month for six months. How do you find the motivation to get to church week-in and week-out? Have any of you set similar goals? How did you fare?

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      Last Updated on February 13, 2020

      What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

      What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It

      Too much to read, too little time! Don’t you wish you could read faster without compromising your knowledge intake? This is where a valuable learning technique comes to the rescue: speed reading.

      Speed reading is the top skill to learn in 2020. Read on to find out all about this amazing technique!

      What Is Speed Reading?

      On average, an adult can read somewhere between 200 to 300 words per minute. With speed reading, you can read around 1500 words per minute.[1] Yes, that sounds impossible, but it is true.

      In order to understand how this skill works, you first need to know how the reading process works inside a human’s brain.

      The Reading Process

      The first step is for the eyes to look at a word. This “fixation” on every word takes around 0.25 seconds.

      Next, the eye moves on to the following word. It takes 0.1 seconds for the brain to move from one word to the next. This is called “saccade.”

      Usually, a person reads 4 to 5 words or a sentence at once. After all the fixations and saccades, the brain goes over the entire phrase again in order to process the meaning. This takes around half a second.

      All in all, this allows the average person to read 200 to 300 words in a minute.

      Speeding up the Process

      The concept of speed reading is to speed up this process at least 5 times. Since the saccade period cannot be shortened any further, speed reading emphasizes quicker fixations.

      To accomplish this, scientists recommend that the reader skips the subvocalization: when the readers actually say the word in their mind, even when reading silently.

      Basically, speed reading is the technique of only seeing the words instead of speaking them silently.

      Do not confuse this with skimming. When a reader skims through a text, they skip the parts that their brain considers to be unnecessary.

      You may skip important information in this process. Moreover, skimming does not allow the brain to retain what has been read.

      Why Speed Read?

      Speed reading is not just quick, but also effective. This skill saves a lot of of time without sacrificing information.

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      Also, it has been proven to improve memory. The brain’s performance improves during speed reading, which allows the reader to remember more information than before.

      Since speed reading stabilizes the brain, the information is processed faster and more efficiently.

      Believe it or not, this technique leads to improved focus, too. As the brain receives a lot of information during speed reading, there is far less chance of distraction. The brain focuses solely on the job at hand.

      Since the brain is, after all, a muscle, the process of speed reading acts as an exercise. Just like the rest of your muscles, your brain needs exercise to grow stronger, too.

      A focused brain means improved logical thinking. As your brain gets used to receiving and organizing so much information so quickly, your thinking process will become faster.

      As soon as a problem is thrown at you, your brain will quickly put two and two together. You will be able to retrieve stored information, figure out correlations, and come up with new solutions, all within seconds!

      Still not convinced? Read 10 Reasons Why You Should Learn Speed Reading

      Greater Benefits

      With a healthier brain, you can expect better things in other parts of your life, too. A boost in self-esteem is just one of them.

      As you begin to understand information at a faster pace, you will also begin to figure out more opportunities all around you.

      With the ability to deeply understand information in a shorter period of time, your confidence levels will quickly grow higher.

      Moreover, all the aforementioned benefits will relieve you of stress. You will manage your readings in lesser time, your brain will be healthier, and you will feel so much better about yourself.

      With all these advantages, your emotional well-being will be healthier than ever. You’ll feel less stress since your brain will learn to tackle problems efficiently. Speed reading will lead to a relaxed, tension-free lifestyle!

      How to Learn to Speed Read

      Speed reading is a superpower. Fortunately, unlike other superpowers, this one can be learned!

      There are different techniques that can be used to master this skill. Opt for the one that best suits your learning style.

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      1. The Pointer Method

      The person who is credited for popularizing speed reading, Evelyn Wood, came up with the pointer method. It is a simple technique in which the reader uses their index finger to slide across the text that they’re reading.

      As the finger moves, the brain coherently moves along with it. It is an effective technique to keep the eyes focused where the finger goes without causing any distraction.

      Readers have a tendency to back-skip. The pointer method prevents this from happening, thereby saving at least half the reading time.

      2. The Scanning Method

      In this technique, the reader’s eyes move along one part of the page only. This can be the left or right side of the text but is usually the center since that is the most convenient.

      Instead of pacing through the entire text from left to right, the vision shifts from top to bottom.

      This method involves fixation on keywords such as names, figures, or other specific terms. By doing so, the saccade time is minimized.

      3. Perceptual Expansion

      Generally, a reader focuses on one word at a time. This technique, on the other hand, encourages the brain to read a chunk of words together. In doing so, this method increases the reader’s peripheral vision.

      Here’s the thing: even though the fixation time remains the same with perceptual expansion, the number of words that the eyes fixate on increases.

      So basically, the brain receives 5 times more information within the same amount of time.

      This technique is the hardest to master and takes the most time to learn. You’ll need help from speed reading tools in order to practice the perceptual expansion method.

      However, once you master it, this technique will offer you the fastest reading pace with the maximum knowledge intake.

      The Best Speed Reading Apps

      The easiest tool to aid any process in any part of life these days is your smartphone.

      You can use mobile applications to learn speed reading on the go. It has been proven that regularly practicing speed reading is the fastest way to learn this skill. [2]

      Here are a few great options to look into:

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      1. Reedy

      If you own an Android smartphone, you can download Reedy to your mobile. Otherwise, get the chrome extension on your laptop to enjoy speed reading with Reedy.

      This app trains readers to read faster by displaying words one by one on the screen. Instead of having to go through lines or long texts, Reedy prepares the user to focus on one word at a time.

      Although this isn’t an effective method to learn speed reading long texts, it is a great way to start.

      Once your brain gets used to the idea, you can shift to another app to train speed reading sentences or longer texts.

      2. ReadMe!

      Whether you’re an android or iOS user, you can take advantage of the ReadMe! application. This app even comes with some e-book options to practice speed reading on.

      Start by choosing your desired font size, color, layout, etc. Other than that, there are different reading modes for the user to choose from.

      If you want to practice reading sentence by sentence or in short paragraphs, you can choose the focused reading mode.

      The beeline reader mode changes the color of the text to guide the eye to read from the beginning to the end at a certain pace.

      Lastly, there is the spritz mode in which the app focuses on chunks of words at once. This controls the reader’s peripheral vision. However, this mode is not fully available in the free version of the app.

      3. Spreeder

      Spreeder is available on both iOS and Android. However, users may also gain benefits from Spreeder’s website. This application lets the reader paste in any text that they would like to speed read.

      Starting off at a rather low speed, the app flashes words one by one. Gradually, as the user becomes more comfortable, the speed increases.

      Slowly, the user is trained to speed read without having to skip any words.

      This app is different from the rest because it tracks the user’s reading improvements, recording the overall reading time and speed.

      The progress and improvement are tracked in order to motivate the user to perform even better.

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      Adjustable settings, such as the speed of the text, background color, etc. are in the control of the user.

      The Controversy Surrounding Speed Reading

      Truthfully, speed reading does sound too good to be true. It’s hard to believe that it is humanly possible to attain such a fast pace in reading without compromising the quality of information you receive.

      Perhaps as a result, there are people who do not trust the process of speed reading. They believe that when you read through a text at such a high speed, you cannot comprehend the information successfully.

      According to these people, your brain is unable to process information at the speed that you’re reading, and so, they regard speed reading as problematic.

      It is true that speed reading will be of no use if you do not understand the text you’re reading, no matter how quickly you did it.

      Similarly, if you were to read slowly and still not retain or understand the information you read, that would be useless, too.

      However, there a few factors to consider here. When reading at a normal pace, there is enough time in between every step of the process for the brain to get distracted.

      Conversely, speed reading leaves behind no time for the brain to focus on something else. It is unlike skimming. No part of the text is skipped, which means that the brain receives every single bit of information.

      Conclusion

      Keeping all of this in mind, speed reading cannot be labeled a hoax or a failure. Science has backed up this technique, and numerous readers have been using this skill to improve their learning ability.

      At the end of the day, it is your decision whether or not you want to trust this process.

      However, if you decide to take advantage of the opportunities speed reading provides, you will find a world of possibilities opening up to you.

      We live in a fast-paced world. Consuming information faster will help you keep up with that pace and find further success.

      Speed Read Like a Pro!

      Featured photo credit: Blaz Photo via unsplash.com

      Reference

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