Breaking unhealthy habits are hard. Breaking habits of any type are hard.
About six weeks ago we replaced the waste basket in our kitchen. We purchased a larger one and placed it to the side of a counter, whereas the smaller one had been under the sink behind a cabinet door. For the first week the basket was in its new location, each time I had something to toss in the basket I would open the door below the sink… only to realize and remember that the waste basket was in its new location. I did this once again this morning.
Some suggest that it takes 21 days to change a habit. It may take longer than that for some people to change some habits.
Let’s look at a few aspects of changing a health-related habit.
Motivation. What are some key reasons that you desire to make a change? Are these reasons of high value to you? Are you willing to adjust your priorities if the new behavior will take some dedicated time?
Knowledge. Is there anything you need to learn associated with the new behavior? For instance, if you plan on starting an exercise program, you’ll want to know the correct and safe way to engage in physical activity.
Beliefs and Attitudes. Is it important that you make an adjustment in any beliefs and attitudes that are foundational to making and sustaining the new behavior?
Environment. Will it be helpful to modify your environment to facilitate the new behavior?
Support. Who can help support your efforts? Is someone willing to assist you in practical ways? Could you benefit from the assistance of a professional?
Resources. Are there any special pieces of equipment or resources of any type that are important to help you with your new behavior?
Stressors to Manage. Many times, certain people or situations can impact on our desired new behaviors. Are there people or circumstances that are likely to be a source of stress that could have a negative impact on your efforts? If so, what could you do to be best prepared for these obstacles?
Rewards. The research suggests that it’s helpful to reward yourself after you’ve achieved some level of success with a behavior change. What small reward can you identify that would be fitting?
A Biblical Perspective on Motivation to Change
I believe that our values play a big role in changing behavior. The more that something is important to us, the greater our motivation will be to have it. Then, the more likely we’ll be able to do what it takes to achieve whatever it is we value. This becomes a big part of our motivation.
Our deeply held beliefs shape and influence our values. Our knowledge of biblical principles and our relationship with God will impact on our beliefs and values.
I have come to believe and realize that my primary purpose in life is to glorify God. This has become my most significant motivation in making desired behavior changes. I believe that the healthier I am, the better enabled I am to use the gifts and talents God has given me. My health-related habits are, in essence, contributors to helping me use my God-given abilities to serve Him and others in a more effective manner.
I hope that what I’ve shared about beliefs, values and motivation to change behavior from a biblical perspective will be of help to you as you’re attempting to make and sustain a behavior change in your life.
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his spirit in your inner being.” Ephesians 3:16