Posted by: Rolf | April 14, 2008

Breaking Bad Habits…

The habits you form when you work on your golf game are the ones you’ll repeat on the course, especially under pressure, because there’s not enough time to think your way through swings. Habits are conditioned repetitive actions we engage in without thinking. They can be beneficial or detrimental to our well-being. When the appropriate conditions present themselves, we’re likely to engage in a habit, such as getting ready for work, smoking, or making judgments about others.

When you’re considering changing a habit, it’s important to know the answers to questions like, “What are the reasons I cling to this habit”. “What will I lose if I give it up”? “How will I benefit if I do something different”? Some philosophers and psychologists believe we either move toward those situations that bring us pleasure, or we move away from those that would bring us pain. Often times the fear of change immobilizes us when we’ve made up our minds that we’re going to stop or start an action.

If we look closely, we may also find that we have a fear of being our best because we don’t believe deep inside that we really deserve it. Some of our bad habits serve as a punishment for what we erroneously believe to be what we deserve. Changing a habit requires persistence and perseverance. Habits have usually been with us for a long time — changing them overnight is an unrealistic expectation.

Sometimes we get frustrated with our humanness — we “fall off the wagon” and are reluctant to start again because we feel we’ve failed. Anything that’s worth having or doing is going to take a steady investment of time, energy, and resources. There are few overnight successes — if there are any at all. So it’s important to keep your expectations realistic.

If we think of our habits as bad, then we erroneously believe that we too must be bad. And, if we were good enough, we wouldn’t engage in such bad behavior in the first place. We’d be able to shake any bad habit with ease. Rather than thinking of habits as being good or bad, let’s think of them as unconscious choices. To develop a habit that is beneficial for us, we must make conscious choices to do so.

Everyone knows the cycle: We decide to break a bad habit once and for all, and even experience some success for a while. Yet, almost invariably, we fall back into that same undesirable behavior, and the frustrating process starts all over again. The experience can leave us feeling powerless to make changes in our lives.

Popular author and Pastor Dr. Erwin Lutzer believes it is possible to break this cycle of addictive behavior. Filled with biblical insights, “Getting to No: How to Break a Stubborn Habit” takes an honest look at the temptations lying beneath the surface of every bad habit. The book examines tough issues—such as “why temptation exists”, “what purpose it serves in our lives”, and “what happens when we fail again”—and provides practical tools to help one find freedom from bad habits for good.

Reading through this book one will not simply learn what it means to defeat a habit, but also learn what it means to join in fellowship with your fellow brothers and sisters under a common goal—to experience the power and love of God and the freedom He designed for us.

In His Grip and Serving Grace…

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