How to Stop Doing What You Hate
Bad Habits, everyone has them but they don't have to affect your life they way they do now.
In Ephesians 4:22-24 (CEV) we are reminded that we became new people as followers of Christ and need to do what we can to treat ourselves as the holy children of God.
"You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy."
Changing bad habits takes a will to change and the motivation to follow through. Habits are ingrained into the framework of our minds and changing them requires a pro-active mindset instead of reactive. No matter whether the bad habit is smoking a cigarette, eating chocolate cake, biting your nails, or never remembering to put your socks in the laundry basket the beginning steps to breaking it are the same.
For this example, our chosen bad habit is eating chocolate cake.
Ask yourself Why.
1. Why do I do this habit? as a coping mechanism
2. Why do I not like this habit? It makes me gain weight
3. Why do I want this habit to change? My best self takes care of themself.
Then ask yourself What.
1. What causes this habit? Time, Location, Emotion. I eat when I'm bored or stressed.
2. What do I get out of this habit? A feeling of control and action.
3. What could I do instead? If I feel that way I could eat an apple or go on a walk.
Charles Duhigg presents the highly accepted theory that habits form in loops.
1. The Trigger - the signal to our body to begin the actions. I am bored
2. The Routine - the action taken good or bad I eat cake
3. The Reward - the feeling you get from the action Momentary action
When you can answer those questions you can break the habit loop. It will be really hard if you just say "I'm going to stop eating cake". You won't be able to follow through with that statement. Instead of just stopping you need to replace the habit. When I feel bored I am looking for entertainment or just movement of the body. So I can change the habit loop by noticing the signal that says I am bored and taking the action of going on a walk. This fulfills the reward of motion and leaves me with a sense of fulfillment because I am also taking care of myself.
In words it seems really easy to do but the thing about habits is they are typically automatic, and changing them requires conscious thought and action. If you fall down and eat the chocolate cake it's okay. Stand up, brush the crumbs away and try again. Don't say "oh well, I'll try again tomorrow." No, right then. The rest of the day doesn't have to be ruined because of one mistake. You can restart at any moment.
Further reading on Habits:
7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
Get Out of Your Own Way by Dave Hollis
Making Your Bed: Little things that can change your Life by William H. McRaven