Cross training means training in a variety of sports in order to improve performance in each of them. Thus, improving in one sport makes you better at other sports. Closely linked is the idea of muscle confusion: When you work a muscle the same way every time, eventually you plateau. However, if you change the routine, working the same muscle but in different ways, you continually progress.
Spiritual cross training is a scripture-study program based on this principle. Instead of studying The Book of Mormon for a month (or a year), you mix it up daily–you cross train. This idea came to me when I was spending up to two hours a day studying the temple. I was very excited about it, but eventually I got burned out: I didn’t have the time or energy to study that much on a daily basis. The unfortunate result was me taking a break from scripture study for days on end.
Here’s my schedule (but the principle can be personalized to your interests and schedule):
- Sunday: Topical study (Temple, for now. 1-2 hours.)
- Monday: Priesthood/R.S. manual (20 min.)
- Tuesday: Conference talk (20 min. Usually from the last conference, but the options are open.)
- Wednesday: Book of Mormon (15-30 min. I read in Spanish. Consecutive chapters, not by topic.)
- Thursday: Conference talk (20 min.)
- Friday: Book of Mormon (15-30 min.)
- Saturday: Preach My Gospel (30-45 min.)
This keeps my scripture study fresh. And it allows the flexibility to ease a bit during the busy week and do a heavier workout on the weekends. Also, the routine could be changed. For example, once I get my applications finished, I might start doing topical study 2-3 times per week.
I think an important part of this is to have a set schedule. If I miss Monday, I don’t repeat it on Tuesday. I skip it and catch it again next week. This makes it easier to keep from doing catchup all the time (as missing days is inevitable).
(P.S. I’d love to learn from your scripture-study techniques.)
This is a great idea. I personally don't have specific time lengths for studying (though I should, as I think it makes studying more effective). I also don't have specific days for specific things to study… though I'll have to think about doing it now.
What I tend to do is a topical study every day, but I have different ways of doing it, and hardly do I study the same topic more than 2 days in a row; yeah, the whole burn out thing. I have about 10 or so topics that I study and depending on how I'm feeling that day, that's the topic I study. One day as I study that topic, I may use the Ensign. Another day, I may use the B.O.M., another day, I may relate it to my Patriarchal Blessing. It all just depends.
I've found as I do it this way, I'm less likely to burn out and have an easier time remembering stuff, because I don't feel the pressure to study something I don't want to.
You've inspired me though, I'm going to map out days and time frames, and I think I'll try assigning a certain topic on those days, or maybe on day go over the Young Men's, Elder's, or Sunday School lessons or something. Honestly, I never read those before hand.
Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for sharing! I'll have to show Sam this site!
I like this. I apologize for not having the references ready, but Presidents Benson and Hunter gave similar advice. President Benson taught that we should study the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes daily, where possible. President Hunter added that we should also study something else for 30 minutes each day– be that a topical study, the New Testament, conference talks or whatever. I don't always have/make the time for an hour of scripture study each day, but when I do I feel this strategy allows me to have the power of the Book of Mormon in my life but also stay well versed with other scriptures and topics. My testimony of the Book of Mormon also grows because I make lots of connections between the two parts each day.
I echo all of you: thanks for sharing this Travis. I often get focused on one topic as you did, then get burned out just before I'm really ready to begin writing about it on this blog (thus the lapses in the frequency of posts).
I've probably got 5 draft posts where I started an outline, and then didn't finish the last little bit of studying I wanted to do before writing the article. I'm definitely going to take your advice and start some spiritual cross-training.
I also thought of the metaphor the scriptures themselves use: feasting on the word. A feast is always varied with many different foods, sometimes in "courses" to keep things interesting. I love Mom's cheesecake, but even a medium sized piece can be too much, if its all you eat. As the desert at the end of a feast though, a small slice is perfect.
I love this – I've been trying to best figure out how to "cross train" for years! There is so much good stuff to study from that this seems to be the only way to get at all of it. My biggest struggle has been wanting to get in meaningful Book of Mormon study every day in addition to the specified book/manual for that day. It generally comes down to time constraints (which could probably be addressed if I'd actually get up when my alarm goes off).
Thanks man, I love this too. It was actually my brother Travis, who wrote this. So a special thanks to him. I only just now added the code to show who the author of the post is (it wasn't an issue 'till just lately). So its my fault. Hopefully that will make it more clear in the future.
I think I'm going to start trying to read several pages a day from my reproduction of the first printing of the Book of Mormon, that Travis gave me. Then setup a cross-training schedule that's independent of that reading. I hope that without the verses and normal formatting, I'll be able to see things differently than I normally do. And it'll only be 10-20 minutes a day, on top of my "cross-training."
So here's what I ended up doing: I set 10 minutes each day for BoM reading. Then another half an hour after that for study, which rotates through several items: my current favorite topic, Old Testament (for this year), Conference talks, and the Priesthood manual. Plus I give myself 1 day a week to write about what I've learned (hopefully on this blog), so that I can retain it through the occasional review and/or have it for later.
I then put all this in a Google Calendar with pop-up reminders (since I'm working on my computer most of the day). I installed the Labs Edition of Google Talk, which puts the pop-ups on my computer even if I don't have Calendar open. For me it works great, reminding me when to start reading BoM, and when to move to the next part of my study.