Let’s talk about making a change for the better. Everyone’s had times where we intentionally wanted to change our habits for the better and develop effective practices for ourselves. We might want to get into the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water. It could be taking the dog for a daily walk and getting more exercise for yourself and the dog. It could be reading your Bible daily, or praying more, or… There are many points in our lives that we can improve if we could just change our habits.
“Progress is a nice word.
But change is its
motivator. And change
has its enemies.”
Change Usually Isn’t Easy
Building a new habit of doing something beneficial on a regular basis, sounds good on paper, but in practice, it’s not so easy. I’ve found that it’s natural to get bad habits, it takes no effort at all on my part to get them. Have you ever noticed that the first words you pick up in a new language are usually the bad ones? Just like learning enough words to communicate in a new language, changing for the better and developing “good” habits is typically a challenging project.
We’ll pick up a lot of habits living on this earth, some good some bad. How can we change or get rid of the bad ones? To make it easier, let’s break this down into a four step process that’s easy to follow. We can use the steps as a guide until we’ve embedded the new actions into our life strategy and made it an actual habit, -– something we do on autopilot without having to think about it, like checking our email. First.
Ask God to Help You Make the Change
I’m starting with the most important step first. If we’re going to change for the better, we need to start by laying down a stable foundation to build it on. There’s no better Cornerstone to support us on our journey than our creator. You could start by talking to our Father in a simple prayer like
Father’ you know everything about me. Thank you so much for Your grace. Help me to change and make healthy choices for my life.
Understand What You Want To Do
The second step is to decide exactly what you want that new habit to be. Be as accurate as possible. Don’t simply say that you want to exercise more. Be more precise, say something like “I will go for a 30-minute walk every single day”. Decide exactly what your new habit will be and make a decision about when and exactly how you’re planning to do it.
Remember to Remind Yourself To Get It Done
This sounds easy, but the first few days after making the change should be no sweat. You’re enthusiastic and committed to making a change for the better. Keeping your new habit isn’t an issue yet. But after few days it’s easy to slip back into old habits if you’re not careful.
Maybe it’s hot, maybe it’s cold, maybe it’s cloudy, maybe it’s supposed to rain tomorrow, or you really don’t want to go walking. This is when it’s important to have a daily reminder. Set an alert on your phone or add the new habit to your daily to-do list or calendar for a while.
Make It Part Of Your Everyday Schedule Until It Becomes A Habit
Whew, now for the last step. It takes time for a new attitude or new action to become a habit. Until then, sticking to a routine is your best bet. A routine will help you keep to your new program until it becomes automatic. It also will help you do it with a lot less willpower, and shorten the time you’ll need daily reminders.
Make taking a walk part of your after dinner ritual, or stop grabbing those chips out of the vending machine at work. Eat a healthy snack at 10:00 in the morning. The list goes on and on.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to change for the better and start a new habit. You’re practicing a routine until it becomes second nature and you’re well on your way to forming a new healthy habit. Hang in there; it gets easier with time.
Have a good one.