8 Habits for Growth • Darryl Dash

A Simple Guide to Becoming More Like Christ

August 2021 • Paperback • 978-0-8024-2365-8

Don’t just do the right actions. Build habits—and watch your life be transformed.

Many books try to help you do the right actions. But the real key to life transformation—for yourself and then for others—is building habits that become part of your life. Because habits don’t just dictate what you do. They reflect who you are.

In 8 Habits for Growth, Darryl Dash wants to show you the eight long-term practices—all very doable—that will lead to permanent growth if you incorporate them into your life. You’ll learn why it’s important to:

  • Make time
  • Rest
  • Read or listen to the Bible
  • Pray
  • Pursue worship and community in a church
  • Care for your body
  • Simplify your spiritual life
  • Build a rule of life

Personal growth doesn’t happen overnight. But it does happen, slowly, as you build God’s habits into your life. So what are you waiting for? Start your new habits today and let God transform who you are . . . and who you can become.


Darryl Dash is pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto. He is also cofounder of Gospel for Life, and director of Advance Church Planting Institute. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and has over 25 years of ministry experience. Darryl is married to Charlene, and has two adult children, Christy and Josiah. You can find Darryl online at www.DashHouse.com.


Do you want to change your behavior? Change your habits. Habits are the unconscious, automatic routines that shape our lives. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, defines habit as “a behavior that starts as a choice, and then becomes a nearly unconscious pattern.” We all have habits, good and bad. Because a large portion of our lives is lived by habit, it’s essential that we learn to build good habits that will help us grow.

Habits are powerful, but they’re also pretty easy to understand. We want something (desire). We take action to get it (behavior). And if it works, we may repeat this behavior the next time we face the same situation (prompt). The more we repeat this pattern, the more ingrained the habit becomes.

According to BJ Fogg, a behavior scientist, there’s no guesswork involved in building habits. Fogg writes:

“In order to design successful habits and change your behaviors, you should do three things.

  • Stop judging yourself.
  • Take your aspirations and break them down into tiny behaviors.
  • Embrace mistakes as discoveries and use them to move forward.”

In other words, the place to start is to experiment with small, consistent actions to find what will help us reach our goal. Fogg isn’t alone in encouraging us to start small. Saint Basil of Caesarea, who lived almost 1,700 years ago, offered this advice:

“Don’t, then, immediately try to force an over-strict discipline on yourself….It’s better to advance in godliness little by little. So then, withdraw by degrees from this life’s indulgences. By slow degrees cast off all your customary bad habits….Master one passion first, and then launch your attack against another. By this method, you will eventually win the victory over them all.”

The best way to make changes in your life is to build small, consistent habits.

My advice as you begin? Start small. Be realistic. Expect that things won’t always go well. That’s okay. Progress is better than perfection.

Anticipate problems. When things don’t go well, see if you can shrink the challenge and make it even easier. Make it so small that you can’t possibly fail.

When you begin a new habit, it’s always a good idea to ask how likely you are to succeed. If you rate yourself lower than a 9/10, then shrink the action. Keep shrinking the action until you rate your likelihood of success at 9/10 or higher.

It’s a great idea to relax and to take things slow. We’re interested in creating lasting change. In the long run, tiny habits work best.

Don’t get discouraged! Christopher Love encourages us: “God not only exactly takes notice of, but also tenderly cherishes and graciously rewards, the smallest beginnings and weakest measures of grace which He works in the hearts of His own people.” Small, consistent actions are bigger than we think.


You make decisions, but eventually your decisions make you. In his new book 8 Habits for Growth, Darryl Dash does a wonderful job of cutting through the noise that has become life today to isolate eight critical habits that, practiced regularly, will benefit you for years to come. These habits will become investments that will pay off for the rest of your life.
– Carey Nieuwhof
Founding Pastor, Connexus Church

Healthy habits are fundamental to our flourishing as Christians. But habits are hard, and developing new habits – or maintaining existing ones – is daunting. This is an accessible, practical, and actionable book – perfect for small groups, families, and friends seeking sustainable growth in a culture of fads and quick fixes.
– Brett McCracken
Senior editor at The Gospel Coalition and author of The Wisdom Pyramid: Feeding Your Soul in a Post-Truth World

This wise and inspiring book is packed with profound insights and practical applications! Highly accessible and immediately actionable, Darryl’s powerful book can change the way you move through the world.
– Ken Shigematsu
Pastor, Tenth Church, Vancouver, BC, and bestselling author of God in My Everything