Have you ever had a bad habit…something that you knew would not benefit you or help you in any way, yet you do it anyway? Or maybe it’s something that you need to do, but for some reason you avoid doing it?
These are BAD HABITS! And this is something I can definitely relate to. We all have bad habits…It doesn’t matter who you are, you have one (or some).
For example, I have a bad habit of procrastination. If there is something I know I’m scheduled to work on, but not in the mood to do it…I’ll procrastinate by spending time doing something else that doesn’t help me reach my goals. For example, when it’s time for me to create more podcast & YouTube content, but I’m not in the mood, then I’ll find something…ANYTHING to do…even do the dishes of all things, just to avoid the work I scheduled to finish.
A friend of mine was sharing how watching SportsCenter on ESPN is a bad habit b/c, by watching it, he fails to fully engage with his wife…particularly during times when he knows his time can be better spent with his spouse.
This is true in all areas of our lives, right? For example:
Our Faith: We know in order to grow in our faith, that we need to pray and spend time with God…but we don’t
Our Family lives: We know in order to have a healthy marriage and relationship with our kids, we need to spend consistent & quality time with them…but we don’t
Our health: We know in order to live more healthy lives, we need to consistently workout and have better nutrition…but we don’t
Our wealth: We know in order to achieve our financial goals, we need to be more wise with our spending…but we don’t
I can go on and on…you get the point.
So this begs the question…
Why do we do things that we know we aren’t supposed to do?
Why do we do things that we know are not beneficial for us?
To answer this question, we’ve gotta understand WHY this question is so important.
The reason this topic is so important is because our habits, whether good or bad, heavily influence our results in our work and life. Therefore, our results in any area of our lives WILL NOT CHANGE if our habits STAY THE SAME.
Our faith and level of fulfillment won’t change if we don’t habitually pray…
Our relationships won’t change if we don’t habitually invest our time and presence in them…
Our health won’t change if we don’t habitually work out & eat better…
Our wealth won’t change if we don’t habitually save more…
Our career or business won’t change if we don’t habitually put in the work.
So let’s breakdown how bad habits are formed:
- We are emotional beings that are always trying to either (1) avoid negative or painful feelings or (2) pursue a desirable good or pleasurable feeling.
- Bad habits are often birthed out of a desire to escape from a negative feeling or emotion!!
- These negative feelings & emotions include: fear, anxiety, sadness, anger, frustration, stress, overwhelmed, guilt, shame, self-doubt, worry
- These emotions develop in response to life experiences…which are broken down into internal (thoughts of past) or external (events)
This is the sequence:
Experience(Trigger) à Emotion (Feeling) à Escape (Bad habit)
Therefore, The escape, aka the bad habit, is simply a temporary external bandaid to an internal emotional bleeding wound
Here are a host of different Escapes…aka Bad Habits:
- Drugs & alcohol
The bad habit is the escape…the bad habit is the bandaid.
Question: Can you cure internal bleeding with an external Band-Aid on the skin?? NO!!!
Then the cycle of bad habit begins because now you feel bad that you didn’t do what you were supposed to do in the first place….and therefore go right back to the escape to run from the negative feeling…
Now a new Identity is formed because you begin to play a new narrative in your mind. You begin having thoughts that sound like this…
- “God doesn’t care about me…”
- “I’m a bad person”
- “I’m not a good husband”
- “I can’t lose the weight”
- “I’ll never overcome my struggle”
- …and a host of other negative thoughts that reinforce the bad habits
Here is THE BIGGEST STEP that you can take to BREAK YOUR BAD HABIT:
You’ve got to become more self-aware of your habit, and the thoughts and emotions connected to them. Once you become self-aware, you can then begin to eliminate the bad habit. But self-awareness is the first step…nothing changes without it.
Here are the steps to become self-aware:
Step 1. Create time & space:
- Take 20min to dedicate to doing this exercise
Step 2. Identity the worst habit or addiction you have that you want to change:
- Choose only one bad habit. Work on one at a time.
Step 3. Identify the feeling/emotion you have around the time that you are doing the bad habit
- Answer these questions:
- “How do I feel just before deciding to do the bad habit?”
- “What am I escaping from that leads me to the bad habit?”
Step 4. Identify the trigger that causes that emotion
- Answer this question:
- “What are the consistent triggers that leads me to do the bad habit?”
Now here is the solution!
Step 5. Manage the negative emotion that you are trying to escape.
- Build a relationship with God: Spend consistent time with him
- Remember what he says about you!
- You are fearfully and wonderfully made
- You can do all things through Him who strengthens you
- Rely on this relationship as your primary source of satisfaction & fulfillment
- The relationship with God is ALL YOU NEED! You don’t need any external thing from you, or any bad habit to satisfy you. When your cup is full, you won’t need to fill it with anything else
- Remember what he says about you!
I really want you to practice this…for real!! This will be a life-changer. Consider what life would be like with your greatest bad habit behind you!! REALLY IMAGINE IT!! It’s possible, and it’s real!
As always, if I can help you with breaking that habit…don’t hesitate to reach out!