Life happens in layers. Some of those layers surprise us overnight. Perhaps we were born with a few of the layers, but most of the layers develop overtime. Situations and circumstances create them, and, as a result of those situations and circumstances, we begin bad habits.
You have a child so you stop exercising. You are a working mom so the fact that you eat at all is a miracle. Eating healthy is a luxury you have neither the time nor the patience to indulge. You spend too much time on social media because a portion of your self worth is tied to likes and comments on a photo. You are a workaholic “because you have bills to pay” so you have no time left over to enjoy your children or your spouse. You continue to interact with toxic people. You give so much of yourself to others that you have nothing left for you. The list goes on.
What is worse. You know better. You just are not doing better. You are tired of the cycle.
I have been there. I am there. I spend too much time consumed in social media. I neglect my husband and children for “rest,” “blogging,” and “influencing.” I gossip too much. I let my health go astray as a working mom. I entertain toxic people. I look at my house and feel like it is a direct representation of my life – a mess.
Some of us even have habits much deeper than that – alcoholism, drugs, and other addictions.
So today, I decided to break my bad habits. I decided to look at the painful cycle and put an end to it. I cannot guarantee that I will succeed. I am not at the end. I am at the beginning. I am learning as I go. I have let go of bad habits before, and today I will begin on a path to do it again. If you need to break bad habits of your own, here is the plan.
1. Decide you want change.
I am tired of the extra weight I am carrying around – physically, mentally, and emotionally. And I know that if you are here, you are tired too. You are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and you want things to be different. You want more. You do not want this. You want change, and once you decide you want change, then change can happen.
2. Start somewhere.
You can get lost in the details. You can feel as though you are too far gone. You want more, but you have no idea how to get it. It feels unattainable. You love some of your bad habits. You want better but you do not know how to do better or be better. Just start. Start somewhere. Start anywhere. Do one 20 minute YouTube exercise video. Eat one healthy meal. Ignore one phone call. Block one number. Delete one contact. Put the phone down for one hour. Do something. Anything.
3. Find a support system.
Some addictions require professional help. Get it. Use your resources. The Internet is your friend. You can find pretty much anything you need, any support group, any doctor, any therapist…Yet, even if you do not need a professional, you still need a friend. You do not want to try to break your bad habits alone. You need a cheer leader. You need someone to tell you not to answer the phone. You need a shoulder for the tears or an accountability partner for the journey. You need someone who wants to see you win. Find someone who wants to see you succeed.
4. Progress over perfection.
Baby steps are still steps. At times, you will feel like you are going backwards, and you will want to give up. The fact that you started, even if it is a do over, is progress. I always feel as though breaking bad habits necessitates huge lifestyle overhauls when, really, I must only do one right thing…over and over. I do not have to make leaps and bounds. You do not always have to make leaps and bounds. You do not always have the energy for monumental change. Change happens in small doses over time. You will make mistakes.
Mistakes are proof you are trying (Source). Acknowledge them. Let them go, and then KEEP going – one baby step at a time.
God is in control, and He wants the best for you. He loves you, and He is rooting for you. He just needs you to keep talking. Talk when you are angry. Talk when you are celebrating small wins. Talk when you are frustrated. Talk when you are excited. And, when you have no words, just sit in His presence. Let the Holy Spirit speak for you. Prayer changes everything. It changes your situation, and it changes you.
Breaking bad habits is not going to be easy. You will lose some battles, and win some wars. You will inevitably earn scars along the way. Yet, the end result is worth every part of the progress AND process.
And, if all else fails…
If the cycle will not stop despite your best efforts…
If you are hanging on by a not yet answered prayer…
Remember to enjoy the journey.
What are some things you do to break bad habits?
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