Falling into a bad habit happens to the best of us but it doesn’t mean we should concede defeat and stop trying to overcome it. Over time, we develop habits that may not necessarily be helpful to us and those around us. Whether it be something overtly wrong as doing drugs, watching porn, adultery, a bad temper, stealing, or something more subtle like holding grudges, bad time management or neglecting one’s responsibilities, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to realise that there is a problem in our lives and make every effort to work on overcoming it. The first step to overcoming a bad habit or sin in our lives is acknowledging there is a problem that exists in our lives and make a conscious decision to change.
I’d like to think of bad habits as “the shirts worn in the dark” Have you ever dressed in a hurry or maybe as a woman you applied your make-up or did your hair without a mirror? You perhaps go to work, visit friends or go to school and in your mind, everything about you is perfectly fine? Only much later in the day do you realise that your shirt buttons where done all wrong, or perhaps you realise your make-up made you look like a character from one of those zombie movies or perhaps your hair is doing a foreign dance on your head that not even Beyonce can replicate?
It is only when you look in the mirror or someone is kind enough to be the mirror and point the “fashion mishap” to you that you realise there is something that needs to be straightened out. There might come a bit of embarrassment, as you think back to the amount of people that may have seen your dishevelled self and the impression it might have made while you were unaware of your error but the most important thing is what you do once you realise your error.
While bad habits may not be as easily shaken off as fixing a shirt button, one’s hair or make-up, the principle applies to our daily lives. As one who checks their image in the mirror before leaving home, be bold enough to examine your own life and identify the habits that hold you back from progressing in life or living a life full of joy and freedom. Think back to the things people have said to you and if you see a pattern, bring yourself to making that choice to change. Once you make a choice to change, half the battle is won!
Here are a few ideas I thought may help you in your own journey to overcoming bad habits that have helped me:
1) Realize you are in control
Thought it may seem like a habit or certain desire controls you, remember YOU and YOU alone are in control and you have the power to make a choice to say “ENOUGH!” You have power over your mind and body as difficult as it may be. Even if you have to keep repeating “Enough!” to yourself over and over again, keep on keeping on and soon enough, you will start believing in the fact that you are in control of the things you do or allow yourself to do.
2) Make a decision to change TODAY
Procrastination is the thief of time and time is a commodity you cannot afford to waste. Once it’s lost, it can never be redeemed at least on this side of eternity anyway. If there is a pattern needing to be broken in your life, today is the day to start your journey to a better you. After all, who knows if tomorrow will come for you?
3) If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again
Like weaning a baby, getting rid of an old habit or a life of sin is never easy. Some things may work for others while they may not work for others. Some people take longer to overcome bad habits than it takes others so do not be discouraged if it feels like you are not making any progress. Find out what works for you and stick to it. For example, if your habit is drinking alcohol excessively, then avoid places that serve alcohol or hanging out with people that drink irresponsibly.
4) Run for your life!
Lingering a little while longer, admiring a little too much or wondering a little too far more often than not lands you in a predicament. If your challenge is infidelity, then try avoid spending time alone with an individual who may become a stumbling block and keep your spouse or partner nearby whenever possible. Also learn to say no and to walk away when things are pushed in your face, sticking around always creates room for giving in to temptation.
5) Replace the bad habit with a new one
In a game of tug of war, there are two sides and in order for either side to win, there needs to be new bouts of strength introduced. Likewise, getting rid of an old habit means taking up a new one. So feed the habits that are desirable and send the bad ones on a “diet” As your good habits develop, it will become easier to overcome the undesirable ones.
6) It all starts in the mind
All our struggles begin in the mind. We may cheat on our wives/husbands because our minds tell us “he/she is not enough” or it may be a case of “he/she will never find out”. Maybe we are going through a tough time and just need a break and so our mind tells us maybe have a few drinks, take a few shots of this and that. Or it could be a case of something that happened in our past, we may have been hurt and so our minds tell us to either become very passive or too aggressive, both of which are undesirable. Whatever the challenge may be, it all starts with changing our thinking. Whatever our struggle may be, if we purpose in our minds to do or not to do something, we set ourselves up for victory. Look back at everything listed above, it is all about the mind.
7) Be accountable
If you find it difficult to stick to your plan to change, why not find a trusted friend, leader or family member who can walk this road with you. Perhaps ask them to check on your progress every so often so you stick to your goals. There are times when you may not have a confidante whom you can share your challenge with but there is one far much more trustworthy and who will offer you guidance every step of the way.
I do not write as someone who has it all waxed, I am still on a journey to overcoming many of the issues in my own life that have held me back and weighed me down for years so you are not alone in your struggle.
I urge you to do some self-searching, recognize the problem and call it out by name, make a choice to work on the problem, run away from any situation or person that makes your problem worse and make it a daily choice to feed your mind with positive thoughts. You are more than able to overcome whatever challenge you may be facing now, the power is in your hands. Don’t be afraid to fail. Many at times we never attempt to change because we feel the risk of failing is too great but risk is just that, risk; but you risk to lose more by not trying and so do yourself a favor and make a decision today.
If you feel there is something you need to change in your life, whether it be a habit or perhaps you’re not even sure what has been holding you back all these years and you really want things to change from now on, why not click on the pop-up banner below or get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can walk the mile with you.