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So You Want to Start a New Habit

We all have times in our lives where we intentionally want to change our behavior for the better and start a new habit for ourselves.

  • This could be getting in the habit of eating healthier and drinking more water.
  • Or it could be moving more and taking the dog for a daily walk.
  • Or it could be work related, or spiritual – like having a personal quiet time or having a better personal quiet time.
  • or… There are so many areas in our lives that could be improved and made easier if we created new habits.

Getting into the habit of doing something is often easier said than done.

We seem to acquire bad habits without any effort, but getting into a “good” habit can be a little more challenging.

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Let’s break it down into a three step process that makes it easy to follow until we’ve internalized the new behavior and made it a true habit – something we do automatically without having to think about, like brushing our teeth.

woman walking dog

Decide What You Want To Do

  • The first step is to decide what you want that new habit to be. Pray, ask the Lord to show you what change you need to make.
  • Be as specific as possible.
  • Don’t just tell yourself you want to exercise more. Instead say something like “I will go for a 30 minute walk every single day”.
  • Deciding what your new habit will be and committing to when and how you’re going to do it, is half the battle.

Remind Yourself to Get It Done

The next few days should be smooth sailing. You’re motivated and excited to get this done. Sticking to your new habit isn’t an issue. But a few days in you’ll notice that it’s easy to slip back into old habits.

  • Maybe it’s raining and you don’t really want to go out and walk.
  • Or maybe your day just gets away from you.
  • 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 for a while.
  • Remember to pray and ask the Lord to remind you.

Make It Part of Your Routine Until It Becomes a Habit

  • This brings us to the last step.
  • It takes some time before a new behavior becomes a true habit.
  • Until then, a routine will work to your best advantage. Even before the new behavior becomes automatic, a routine will help you get it done without having to spend a lot of willpower or relying on daily reminders.
  • Make that daily walk part of your after dinner routine.
  • Change from grabbing a snack at the vending machine at work at 10:00 in the morning to packing a healthy snack.
  • Ask the Lord to be your strength.

“…for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Neh 8:10b ESV

  • Decide to create the new habit.
  • Practice the routine until it’s second nature.
  • Ask the Lord for strength.
  • You’ll be well on your way to forming a new good habit.

Next we’ll look at the relationship between habits and willpower.

And now for our link-up

My favorite from last week:

four ways to embrace the gift of waiting
Four ways to embrace the gift of waiting

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  • Karen Del Tatto
    Posted May 18, 2016 at 7:25 PM

    I like how you suggested to rather than just think of a general habit, be specific in what you will do to ensure the habit develops and pray that the Lord will guide you.

    Great, edifying post!

    • Post Author
      Phyllis Sather
      Posted May 19, 2016 at 7:56 AM

      I find it helpful to change a little at a time so choosing a small part of a big thing helps me. When I get that piece in place, I add another. Thanks for your kind words and for stopping by.

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