Want to break some bad habits in your life? Try five simple tips.
Tip #1: Learn the basics
The formation of all habits follows a simple three step process: think, feel, do. Every action starts with a thought. You think something, you believe it to be true in your mind, and that leads to an emotional response. You feel it, you want to do it from the heart level. And so you do. It becomes a habit. Think, feel, do.
Tip #2: Start thinking right
To break a bad habit you have to learn to back up. A bad habit is already at the third stage, the doing stage. You are doing it because you feel like it. It’s more than an action, its an emotional response, sometimes even an addiction. So to break a bad habit you have to go even further back than your feelings. You have to commit to starting over, to begin thinking right about your bad habit.
Tip #3: Relentlessly pursue the truth
Since bad habits start with bad information, you need to make a clear commitment to pursue the truth. You believe a lie about how things work or how life should be lived, and you are fed the lies through friends and popular culture. Your feelings confirm the misinformation and it becomes an emotional response. So you form bad habits and even start defending them. The antidote is to pursue the honest truth and counterbalance the lies you have been fed. But you have to be committed to pursuing the truth on a daily basis, because the lies will continue to come to you from other sources on a daily basis.
John 8:32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Tip #4: Guard your heart
With truth at the foundation of your new desires and intentions, you can move on to dealing with your feelings. You will still be tempted to follow your old ways. There will be an emotional response drawing you back to your old habits. That is why you must guard your heart. You guard it by letting the truth dictate what you allow yourself to feel. Someday, you will feel like doing the right thing. But for now, you might just know it in your head. Let what you know to be true rule your heart when you feel otherwise.
2 Corinthians 10:5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Tip #5: Start doing the better thing
Breaking bad habits and replacing them with better habits will not feel natural at first. It will be awkward and even difficult. But just do it anyway. Do it because you know it’s right, not because it feels right. If you commit to the process and follow the steps every day, you can break those bad habits.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- How has the think, feel, do worked in your life? Apply it to a habit you’ve developed over the years.
- Why are thoughts so powerful? How have your thoughts influenced your actions in the past?
- Why is knowing God’s truth important to fighting bad habits?
- Read John 8:32. These are Jesus’ words. What truth (see Romans 5:6-11) is he talking about that sets us free? How can this verse apply to your bad habits?
- Read 2 Corinthians 10:5. What are some of the lies our culture tries to sell us? What do you think it means to make every thought obedient to Christ? What would that look like practically?
- Read Proverbs 4:23. What do you think it means to guard your heart? What happens when we allow our emotions to dictate our lives? How can our hearts lead us astray?
- Why is behavioral change necessary for beating bad habits?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.