So starting habits. Bad ones are easy to start and good ones are hard. Why is that? Bad ones are ones that can seem fun at first, even fun down the road, but they aren’t good for you in some way. It may not be healthy or somehow distracting you from what you should be doing.
Drinking is as simple as popping open a beer. And they seem harmless at first. “One beer today won’t hurt me,” you say. Then tomorrow it becomes two. Next month you’re drinking a six-pack every day and 10 years from now you’re a raging alcoholic. OK that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you can see how easy it would be to do that.
Good ones are things like exercising, eating healthier, spending more time with family. These are things we all know are good for us, things we should be doing. And for some reason, they seem to be easier to start and easier to stick than easy ones.
Think about eating healthier. How much harder would it be to grab an apple instead of a candy bar? Or how about grabbing some water or fruit juice instead of a soda? Not much at all. But I tend to gravitate towards the unhealthy ones. Isn’t that odd?
I strive to pray and read the Bible daily. But why is it so hard to get into and stay in the habit? I read tons of stuff every day for entertainment. We spend so much time on social media, but can’t spend 5 minutes in prayer.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. -Romans 7:15-20
This long exposition is exactly what I go through when I try to get myself right with my habits. I know what I should be doing, but I don’t do it. Why is that? It makes no sense.
We are sinful in nature and we know what we should be doing, but our sin nature won’t let us.
What is the answer? Well Paul tells us;
Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! -Romans 7:25
So there is our answer. In the end Christ Jesus will deliver us from our sinful bodies into glory.
But there are things we can do today, to help replace our bad habits with good. Here is an article I came across to that gives some practical suggestions on how to make new habits stick.
But as usual, a common theme with me is to think small. So one of my favorites and the one that works the best for me is to start small.
Do something small. You want to exercise more? Well don’t join a gym right away or go commit to some huge complex program. Try something little. Try parking a little farther away from your office. Try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV. All little things that don’t cost you much in activity, but are easy to make a habit.
Want to read the Bible and pray more? Don’t try to become a monk on day one. Sit down and read a few verses. Read the same verse over a course of a week to commit it to memory. Don’t worry about waking up an hour early to spend an hour in prayer. Take your commute time to pray instead of listening to the radio.
It’s amazing how even these little things can impact your life if you start doing them. And because they are little, they are easy to do every day. They won’t change your routine much, if at all and before you know it, they will become second nature.