“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” – John 1:5.
The habit of consuming a half-gallon of Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough after a hard day might seem like a good idea in the moment, but it would be wise to consider the implications for tomorrow instead of the temporary pleasure of indulging today. Bad habits always have consequences and are hard to overcome which explains why it is often challenging to do so.
So what keeps us stuck doing the same thing over and over, stuck in a perpetual déjà vu? What do we need to do to escape the grip of bad habits in our life so we can become the person God created us to be? The first step is to identify the triggers that cause the bad habit. By discovering the “cue” that ignites the habit, you place yourself in a position of power over the temptation. When you are nervous, you bite your fingernails; when you are bored, you open up your smartphone and disconnect from the world around you. By understanding the triggers behind your habits, you can begin working on a strategy to overcome them.
One of the ways we can deal with bad habits is to replace them with new ones. Repetition is the key to forming habits, either good or bad. So, for you to overcome old bad habits, you need to form new ones and continually repeat them until they overshadow the bad habits. John 1:5 reminds us that good has more power than bad: ‘The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” The devil always wants us to form bad habits, while God wants us to form good habits. So it makes sense to replace bad habits with good ones.
It is easy to convince ourselves that a solution is unlikely or impossible. We have made so many unsuccessful attempts to overcome their habits that we have resigned ourselves to failure. We may have lost a few battles, but we have not lost the war. In spite of our previous failures, that does not mean we can’t achieve ultimate victory.
It won’t be easy. Breaking bad habits takes a strong commitment, an investment of time, a lot of hard work, and a willingness to be uncomfortable while you change a bad habit into a good one. For example, Samson. When Samson grew up, he developed a bad habit of always doing the opposite of his parents’ instructions. He developed over time the habit of drinking and running after women. Eventually, he met Delilah, (Judges 16:4-30), who brought about his downfall.
Start with small changes: Big changes are made by taking small steps – one at a time. If you repeatedly try and fail to change a bad habit, perhaps you are biting off too much. Rather than make a 180-degree flip, is there a way that you could make a gradual transition into a better routine?
- Based on who you want to become, what habit do you want to break?
- Think of the last time you broke a habit. What worked? What didn’t work?