This week I felt like a total failure. I’d had several days in a row of wasting time on the internet, not getting a lot accomplished, and just being a general slug.
I spent some time with God renewing my mind, but it didn’t seem to be helping. Why am I writing a blog on overcoming bad habits, I thought, when I can’t even overcome my own?
Then God reminded me of how far I’ve come. Yes, I’m still an unorganized, unproductive sloth from the standpoint of an on-the-ball person, but I’m far better than I used to be. God is changing me – just not as fast as I’d like!
As I was working through my failure, it reminded me of how hard it is to break a bad habit or start a good habit. So today I want to post just a quick checklist of things that can help you with your battle to break a habit or start a habit.
Preparing for the Battle
- Set boundaries
- For information on this read the post on Boundaries.
- Get an accountability partner.
- Ask a friend to hold you accountable to the renewing of your mind each day. Your friend could also hold you accountable to starting or stopping your habit, but the renewing of the mind is even more important as you need to change the way you think if you want lasting change.
- Prepare your weapons.
- Collect some Bible verses on your habit so they’re ready when you need them. You could also put Bible verses on little cards around the house. You might also want to buy a journal and commit it to this particular project.
- Look for practical ways to minimize temptation.
- Yesterday I downloaded a program called Anti-social to help me eliminate the temptation to waste time on the internet. Is there anything you can do on a practical level to help youeliminate temptation?
During the Battle
- Start each day with God.
- Keep short accounts with God.
- Always try to renew your mind as soon as possible after temptation or defeat. It’s far easier to replace lies with truth when the lies are still at the”little” stage.
- Flee the situation when necessary.
- You may need to physically leave the location of your temptation. Or stop doing activities that lead you into temptation.
- Fight with spiritual weapons.
- Keep fighting with truth even when it doesn’t seem to be working. Today the truth kicked in for me after several days of floundering and feeling defeated. But it only kicked in because I spent several hours over the last few days renewing my mind.
- Resist the urge to beat yourself up.
- For more help on this, see the Bible study on failure.
- Renew your mind.
- If you renew your mind after defeat, it will help you resist temptation the next time you’re tempted.
- Remember that growth isn’t a straight line.
- Picture a stock market chart. It never goes straight up, even if the stock is soaring. It’s the same way with growth. We have a bunch of good days, then a bad day – maybe even a string of bad days. But as long as we keep going back to God and renewing our minds, the overall trend will be up.
- Focus on progress, not perfection.
- When you’re tempted to get discouraged, think of how far you’ve come. And be thankful for progress – even if it’s just a little progress!
And last, but not least, don’t give up!
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)
Shall we press on together?
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