When it comes to breaking bad habits, there is no denying we’re all guilty of them one way or the other. They can range from severe to mild. For the mild ones, they are easier to overcome. But for the severe ones, this is where the struggle is real. How can we overcome bad habits through God’s grace accompanied by our own efforts?
Breaking Bad Habits with God’s Help
1. Determine if the bad habit is severe or mild.
Or in other words, is it an addiction or just slight misconduct? If it is the former, this might require medical intervention with a professional. But, accompanied by spiritual guidance through mentoring or coaching sessions.
If it is the latter, this will involve a change in the lifestyle or the interests. One possible way is to look for other meaningful hobbies if, let’s say, you have this habit of spending most of your free time on social media. Though social networking has its good side, it also has its bad side. Or if it has something to do with chronic lateness in everything, then a shift in the lifestyle might be required. Creating a calendar of activities or a to-do list, for one, might be able to help.
2. Create a resolutions list.
Or much better, a faith goals list. When we hear the word “resolutions,” often nothing happens. But if these are faith goals, we are not just believing in ourselves that we can make them happen, but we believe for God to work on our behalf. As the Bible says,
“In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” – James 2:17
3. Connect with a spiritual family.
The spiritual family is one of the best groups to go to when it comes to therapy sessions. Because for those dealing with extreme cases of addiction, the healing needs to be deep within. There is no best way to go when it comes to spiritual healing except for the source of life – God.
4. Involve your closest support system.
This support system is your family and friends that are closest to you. We call them your “accountability partners.” They will check up on you if you’re making any progress at all. Ask for their feedback, too, but be open-minded when they give you suggestions including a rebuke. Often, being rebuked because of the truth is too painful more than the addiction or bad habit, itself. But we can always remember they are “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) because they care.
5. Apply a reward/punishment system.
Having a system is a good approach if you’re aiming to reinforce good behavior and eliminate the bad. Progressive schools apply this concept to children as a way of teaching discipline. Reward yourself if you were able to meet some of your faith goals. But it is also necessary to list down and apply the consequences/punishment to yourself if you fail to achieve the targeted goals. You may do this either by fasting or removing something you can’t live without every day. For the reward, you may treat yourself by buying that new jacket you’ve been eyeing on lately or go on an out-of-town trip.
Related Post: Finding Jesus Through Addiction
All in all, these strategies when it comes to breaking bad habits won’t be helpful if not accompanied by self-discipline, self-control, and lots of quiet times with the Lord. We all deal with our inability to control and discipline ourselves in some areas of our lives. But this is the perfect reason why there is a God, and we need Him. If we need to change and break habits, we need an even more powerful force to help us subdue them. Only God can change hearts because nothing is just too hard for God; even when it seems impossible for man (Matthew 19:26).