How to Change Bad Habits that Hold You Back
So what is it- the bad habit holding you back?
Eating too much?
Or, is it Facebook?
You’ve prayed about it, resisted for a week or two but before you knew it you, were right back at it. You made excuses for a while but sooner or later you start sensing that conviction once again that says, “let it go!”
“But how God, how?” Is that your questions?
Maybe you’re too embarrassed to talk about it in church or tired of hearing the same advice, “just pray about it.”
Unfortunately, our habits can get in the way of what God is calling us to do. Often it is necessary to overcome a bad habit in order to move forward in our destiny.
How can you invest in your future, when all your money goes to shoes?
How can you serve in ministry, when you’re physically ill because of your eating habits?
How can you change the world, when you surround yourself with the wrong people who negatively influence you?
How can you work on your dreams, when Facebook occupies your time?
Well… my friend. Here’s some tips to help you get to the root of your bad habit and get rid of it once and for all. It may not happen overnight (although, I believe it can) but these truths will help guide you in the right direction.
1.Mindset- “You can be Free”
Chances are whatever your habit may be, you’ve dealt with it for a while. So long you can barely remember when it started. It feels like this is just apart of who you are, right? This belief is the first obstacle to overcome when breaking bad habits. If you’re reading this article, you’ve likely recognized you have a bad habit but do you believe you can part with it? Or deep in your heart your faith is drowned by doubt.
“…because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 1:5-6, NIV
Allow the truth behind this scripture to stir faith in your heart. God is faithful! He has already started an amazing work in your life. Remember the day you first committed your life to Him, look how much you have grown and/or changed. What the Lord has begun in your life – trust, if you allow Him, He will will see it through to completion. Your bad habit is not a challenge for Him. However, you have to be willing and believe that He can do it.
Now that we know with God this habit is minor. It’s time to get motivated to finally get rid of this thing. What is your habit stopping you from achieving in your life – big or small? Let’s step out of the present for a moment and into the future. Don’t think about the habit, cost and/or obstacles but imagine your dream has actually come to pass. Serious, do this, close your eyes and picture yourself there.
**STOP & IMAGINE – BE SPECIFIC**
How would that feel?
What does it mean to you to reach this goal?
Consider journaling your experience.
“And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” -Habakkuk 2:2, KJV
You may be wondering, why am I talking about dreaming and vision. This is what you’re working towards. Your bad habit is just a minor roadblock. Allow your big picture goal to motivate your pursuit. As referenced in the verse above, when we write our vision it allows us to run with (accomplish) it. I don’t want you to focus on the negativity of the habit but the joy of life without it.
3.Killing the Root
Simply saying don’t do that anymore – usually doesn’t work. If it did – we wouldn’t have half the struggle we do. There’s usually a deeper reason for the things we do (or don’t do). Our actions (or lack thereof) are a byproduct of our heart.
“For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come–sexual immorality, theft, murder…” -Mark 7:21, NIV
You may not be a thief or a murderer but the point is there’s a deeper reason for our habits.
The reason you may overspend your money on shoes, could be low self image and attempt to stand out with the latest trend.
The reason you procrastinate and watch TV, could be you don’t really believe in your dream or fear.
The reason you overeat, could be you’re self soothing pain from your past.
These are all belief systems that reside in our heart. Now, it’s time to figure out yours. Possibly you already know but if not, let’s ask God:
“Father God, forgive me for [your bad habit], I desire to let this go. Your word says that you know the heart of man. Father I’m asking that you show me my heart and reason for [your bad habit]”
Now take some time to journal whatever you see, feel, sense or hear. What is God showing you? Need help hearing God’s voice.
What you hear could be a belief about yourself, others or God. It could be a traumatic experience that you had as child. Or, possibly a more recent hurt that you are carrying in your heart. If it is a belief, you’ll need to replace it with the word of God. If it’s connected to a bad experience with someone, maybe you need to forgive.
Spend time with the Lord to resolve.
4.Join Forces with Someone
Now it’s time to commit to change with the help of an accountability partner. A life coach or friend can help with this. Someone who can be counted on to ask how you are doing, and who has the courage to not just let you off the hook.
“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” -Proverbs 27:17