Creating good habits may sound like a great idea, but actually putting in the work to develop successful habits is EXTREMELY difficult. Think for a moment about a habit you have. What is the first thing you do in the morning? Does your morning ritual lead to a more productive and peace filled day? Something like a morning prayer or meditation is great. But if your morning ritual includes a lot of hitting the snooze button and rushing around, then maybe it’s worth considering developing some new habits.
I recently read a really interesting book by Dr. Caroline Leaf. She has written many books and journal articles on the mind- brain connection. She argues that despite contrary opinion, it actually takes sixty-three days to change or build a habit. Sixty-three days is a long time, which means it is going to require a lot of discipline. Are you up for it?
Here are some of the tips and tricks that I have learned over the years:
Trying to get over a bad habit?
Avoid these situations:
If you are experiencing any of the following HALT before acting out on a desire.
Are you Hungry?
Are you Angry?
Are you Lonely?
Are you Tired?
*Find triggers and take note of them. For example, when you feel stressed you may start to overeat.
Trigger= stress ---------> Habit= reaching for food as a copping mechanism
Trying to develop a habit?
Visualize the reward.
Exercise your willpower muscle.
Try saying I don’t instead of I can’t.
Example: Instead of just saying, “I can’t eat this candy,” tell yourself that you don’t want to eat it. Remind yourself that 10 seconds of joy from this candy will deter you from your main goal of losing 10 pounds before your next big birthday.
Don’t underestimate your own power!
We have to be able to take ownership of our own actions. No, you don’t need to get fries and a burger every Friday because that’s what your friends do. No, you don’t have to eat that ice-cream that your friend got you. Know your goals and take ownership.
Identify the thoughts that need to be taken captive and healed. Let the word of God transform your mind as you make the decision to stop listening to the lies of the enemy and take ownership of your own power. Do not let the enemy have a foothold in your life; certain habits can actually enslave us as we go to things instead of God for comfort and satisfaction.
To sum it all up, habits are hard to break, and they take time to make, so be patient with yourself. Don’t feel like you need to make drastic changes right away. Start with some small changes and as your willpower muscle continues to build, it will get easier and easier.
Extra verses about habits:
2 Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control
Ephesians 4: 22
Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitudes of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.