Building new Habits

Building new habits could be tough. But the good news is we can be tougher than our bad habits.

Our brain works well with patterns, sometimes it seems to work the same way like an Auto Pilot, taking us through familiar experiences and cycles without us realizing that we have been driven by what feels good and what we know, when our desire is really to do otherwise.

We often find ourselves in a position where we have to “catch ourselves”. We slap ourselves in the face and say, “Wake up, get your act together”. Bad habits are so sneaky, sweet and comfortable, that sometimes we go as far as justifying the need to indulge one more time, over and over again.

I don’t know what your bad habits are but I know they should no longer be nurtured. You may feel terrible knowing that you have been trying to kick that bad habit for years and yet you continue to struggle. Don’t give up! Don’t ever believe that you can’t. It may just mean that you need to try a new strategy. Bad habits only rob you from your true potential. Therefore they cannot and must not win.

Start building new healthy habits today and watch those bad habits gradually fade away into your past.

Here are a few tips to encourage you along your journey.

  1. List the habits you wish to discontinue.
  2. Submit them to God and ask him for the endurance to pull through.
  3. List the consequences you would most likely face if you continue to feed those bad habits.
  4. Identify new healthy habits you can develop to help you let go of the bad habits.
  5. Share your desire to start building these new habits with someone in your household and ask them to hold you accountable.
  6. Journal your progress, including all your challenges.
  7. Recognise and celebrate small milestones as a means of motivation to keep pushing. Remember to thank God for enabling you.
  8. Share your success with someone who needs to be encouraged to do the same.

To make it even more practical I would share a personal example.

I love exercising! I feel great when I exercise! I have identified one of my bad habits as being inconsistent with my exercising plan. I would always find a reason not to. It’s a cycle of stopping and starting again. The consequence is that my body would not experience any significant long-term benefit simply because the results I desire require consistency. To combat this bad habit of not exercising or not exercising sufficiently, I can create a schedule around my family/work responsibilities and ensure that there are no clashes hindering me from pursuing my exercising sessions.

Further, I can ask my immediate family to encourage me when they see me lapsing. I can then journal my journey, the highs and the lows, noting and celebrating the highs. For example, my aim is to exercise three times weekly. If I can do that for three weeks in a row, I would certainly feel that I have made progress.

The good thing is I have experienced some of the short-term benefits of exercising, and that keeps me yearning for more. I never give up, no matter how inconsistent I may be. But, I need to kick the inconsistency habit, once and for all.

On the flip side of this scenario is a positive one. Since starting my blog, I have been trying to maintain a regular schedule of posting twice weekly, Mondays and Thursdays. Recently, I was finally able to do it for about three weeks consistently. It felt really good to achieve such progress and even though I recently fell out of schedule I can now say that I have made significant strides towards building a new habit. It is now easy to step back into the groove.

Be encouraged, work your strategy and kick that bad habit by doing things differently.

Feel free to share your experience overcoming bad habits or building new ones.

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