The Power To Change - Book Review

The Power To Change - Mastering the Habits That Matter Most Book by Craig Groeschel

The actions we take are influenced by how we think about ourselves.  By changing our thinking and focusing on strategic inputs we can reconstruct our habits.  With God's help, we can remodel our identity and habits to realize lasting change.


You can expect to find a significant amount of overlapping content with James Clear's book "Atomic Habits" which for some may be negative.  However, I believe that with such an important topic, there is room for expansion.  I thoroughly enjoyed Craig's writing style as well as the additional information he brought to the habit change domain.  I found the approach different in both the increased focus on identity transformation as well integration of Biblical truths.  

As a Christian, I desire to transform my habits and identity into what would bring God glory.  I really enjoyed the content in this book because honoring God and personal growth are both core values in my life.

How I Discovered It

I discovered this book after listening to a recent podcast episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast.  After hearing about it I decided to pre-order the book and when it came I pushed it to the front of my reading list.

I have been listening to Craig's podcast for over a year now and I highly recommend it.  I find some leadership podcasts to be overly theoretical and often trite. However, Craig does an excellent job delivering practical and valuable leadership truths twenty minutes at a time.  The content is high quality and it leaves me wanting to hear more.  His podcasts are released 1-2x per month which, whether on accident or purpose, leaves me eager for the next one.  The lack of supply creates more demand!

How The Book Changed Me

There were three key principles that I am integrating into my mind and life that came directly from this book.

I Am X So That Y

A significant portion of this book is focused on how our identity directly impacts our behavior and our habits.  This was a concept I have read before, however, I was not impacted by this truth until reading and applying it from this book.

Craig states "You do what you do because of what you think of you.  To change what you do, you need to first change what you think of you."  Practically, there are several steps to this:

  1. Identify an area of your life you want to change.
  2. Determine a verb or two that describes what you would like to be.
  3. Carefully construct the why behind the change you want.

Upon completing these three steps you can construct a declaration that will become the foundation for the habit change you desire.  I performed this exercise and constructed the following: I am disciplined and diligent so that I can be the best steward of the life Christ has given me.

Focus On Inputs Over Outputs

It's easy to fall trap to exclusively focusing on the end result you want.  The problem with that is that it takes a long time to get there.  This often leads to discouragement that we haven't achieved it yet.  The end goal is extremely important, however, it can't be our day-to-day focus.  Utilize the end goal to determine the inputs you need to win and then change your daily focus to doing those every single day.  This allows you to win every day and not just upon reaching the accomplishment.

How does this practically look?  First, choose a strategic habit that you can do every day that will lead you in the direction of your goal.  If your goal is to completely change your health, start with a strategic input of walking 10 minutes per day.  This allows you to perform an achievable input every day which becomes a keystone habit toward your healthy future.  

A man standing tall overlooking a mountain after excercising
Photo by Ameer Basheer / Unsplash

Over time, you can upgrade your daily input which will steer you to your final destination.  Inputs allow you to create the momentum you need to realize the dream.

Training vs Trying

Someone who is "trying" to change is making an effort without renewing their thinking.  This leaves you dependent on willpower in the moment and only a hope that they can continue to do so.  Instead, it's important to transition your mindset from "I'm trying" to "I'm training".  Training involves a strategic habit and identity change that drives you toward the outcome you want.

A man doing pushups focusing on training
Photo by Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

Consider the difference between the following phrases:

  • I'm trying to become an amazing father vs. I'm training to become an amazing father
  • I'm trying to lose weight vs. I'm training to lose weight.
  • I'm trying to become more diligent vs. I'm training to be more diligent.

While only a single word has changed, the new statement carries considerably more power.  In order to experience real change, it's important to transition your mindset from "I'm trying" to "I'm training".

My Favorite Quotes

  • You do what you do because of what you think of you.  To change what you do, you need to first change what you think of you.
  • If you don't start with your identity, any behavior change you make won't last.
  • Defining the win is not how you win but how you begin.
  • Winners don't try.  They train.
  • To try is to attempt to do the right thing by exerting effort in the moment.  To train is to commit to developing strategic habits that equip you to do the right thing in the moment.
  • Training is doing today what you can do today so that you can do tomorrow what you can't do today.
  • Your desires don't determine who you become.  Your disciplines do.
  • If you make doing the habit your win, you can win every day.
  • Focus on inputs, not outcomes.
  • The life you're living today has been largely shaped by your habits.  If you want to change your life, change your habits.
  • The small things no one sees can lead to the big results everyone wants.

Conclusion - TLDR

  1. Identify the change you want and reframe your identity with a declaration.
  2. Define your end goal and then determine what winning daily looks like.
  3. Focus on those inputs, create that win, and track and celebrate those accomplishments daily.
  4. Recognize that you are training and will fail at times. Determine what you are going to do when that happens.
  5. Establish accountability that you can put in place to increase your likelihood of success.