Anyone who’s tried to kick a bad habit, or ditch a favorite vice would agree is neither fun, or easy. Even simple, seemingly harmless bad habits like going to bed too late, or procrastinating at work can feel almost impossible at times, and it’s so easy to give up Fortunately we’re guaranteed help from a God who’s bigger than the toughest habits and strongest of addictions. The key is to involve him in the process, and follow some helpful tips to get you through.
Ask for the desire to quit
How many of us have tried to either change a bad habit like over eating or watching too much TV, or attempted to start a positive routine, like reading the Bible every morning, and lasted like a nanosecond before reverting to our old ways? We’re all guilty of this to some degree, but I wonder how much easier it would feel and how much more success we’d see, if we spent more time asking God for the desire to change, to begin with. This is at least half the battle. If we’re trying to give up something negative, it’s absolutely God’s will that we succeed, so it will happen…eventually. The problem is, we give up so quickly, and become so easily get discouraged after the second third, fourth week of falling off our respective wagons. We might sometimes feel guilty for constantly asking for more faith and belief that we can change, or more desire for right living, but God doesn’t see it this way. And when our desires change, our actions will follow- sometimes just at snail pace.
Prayer makes all the difference
This can be especially true when we’re trying to kick a habit that affects us spiritually. Whether it’s decreased alcohol consumption, or committing to more pure lifestyle, prayer is always key. When you find yourself tempted to weaken or feeling less enthusiastic about the good habit you’re trying to form, acknowledge your doubts, and give your thoughts to the Lord. The enemy wants to make this complicated because he know the more we’re bogged down with bad habits or a lack of good living patterns, the more joy and freedom he’ll steal from us. But when we pray under pressure or weakness, the Lord promises to be with us, and to help. There’s always a way out, as outlined in 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” God never calls us to a good work without equipping us, but we’re not meant to do it alone. Every single time you falter, pray for strength and resolve. Even if it takes seemingly constant prayer, it’s worth the victory.
Keep the Faith, even when We falter
Belief that we can make our desired change is also huge. Consider thanking God ahead of time for helping you start that good pattern or overcome a habit, even while you’re still struggling. We can’t just memorize verses like “nothing is impossible for those who love the Lord,” and then surrender to Netflix binging the third day when things get tough. It can be difficult to persevere, but the more we believe God has our back, and cares about even the smallest minutia of our journey, the more power and stick-to-itiveness we’ll see. It’s so easy to feel like a failure, or a hypocrite when victory takes longer, but sometimes God lets us struggle a while, to work out the kinks and properly prune us. He wants to increase our trust and dependence on him, for our highest good, which might not necessarily happen, if we were instantly delivered, or given instant victory in our struggles. Just trust that God will see us through until we’re free, and it’ll feel better than we even hope for.
Find an accountability partner
Not the slightly annoying type you end up avoiding because they’re texting “did you do your three chapters this morning?” but a friend who really cares about your goals, and supports your efforts. The benefit of an accountability partner, really, is to have another believer praying for you and standing in the gap, when you feel weak. Just knowing you’re not alone, and someone is going to ask how it’s going, even if it’s just weekly, makes our habit-kicking feel much more doable, and empowering.
Change up your routine
It can be so easy to fall back into bad patterns, like snacking at night because that’s what you always did when you watch your show- if you’re used to a familiar routine that involved that habit. When possible, switch up the environment and external circumstances that had to do with that habit, until you feel confident you’ve kicked it. If you’ve vowed to stop gossiping or talking negatively, avoid phone chats with the friend who constantly criticizing those around her. If you’re committed to thinking more purely about the opposite sex, avoid situations where you’ve fallen into wrongful thinking or temptation in the past