Good habits can become just as strong as bad ones! Creating good habits works the same way as creating bad habits. Doing the same thing over and over sets a pattern in the brain that creates a habit.
Potent, powerful, and protective weapons are available to help you make and maintain permanent change in overcoming over time. They include:
*Pay attention to your internal environment—your thoughts. Cultivate thankfulness in place of negativity. What you make up your mind to be, you will be. “As man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7. John Ratey states it this way: “We can actually change our brains. By altering the external environment or the internal environment of our bodies, we can take better advantage of our strengths and amend our weaknesses…One necessary precursor to change, though, is often a change in attitude.” 1
*Pay attention to your external environment—the things that surround you. Make sure your surroundings are helping you, not hurting you. Create an environment where it is easier to make the positive choice. Remove temptation. Practice new behaviors. For example, place a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter to replace the candy dish or ash tray. *Keep your walking shoes by the door. Have your gym bag in the car for ready access.
Positive lifestyle choices protect the brain and body, making it easier to cope with stress and enjoy new things to do in life. Daily exercise improves learning, increases energy, and lowers anxiety. Eating plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, beans, and nuts—builds mental strength and eases stress. Regular rest and plenty of water refresh the body and mind and prepare it for new challenges.
*Creating Connections. Get connected with friends who will encourage you in your new choices. Personal growth takes place as we interact with others. Connecting with church and community resources makes our world bigger than our circumstances.
It creates opportunities for giving, receiving, and learning communication skills, and building meaningful experiences. Connections can provide support and accountability that increase long-term success.
*Establish or strengthen your connection with God. This will give you power to make positive choices and stick with them over time. God will help you discover your true value and purpose in life.
“Don’t you be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. Yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10. God sees your potential. You are here for a reason. Jesus is reaching out to you. Will you take His hand right now and say, “Yes, Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief. Strengthen me and guide me in your way.”
This information is adapted from the book Living Free: Finding Freedom from Habits that Hurt.
1 Ratey J. User’s Guide to the Brain (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2002) p. 356.
(Submitted by Betty Dean. Used by Permission from www.lifestylematters.com. Courtesy of LifeSpring – Resources for Hope and Healing, Stuart, VA.)