We all have habits that need to be changed. Maybe you’re looking to quit smoking, or another addiction, maybe you’re looking to lose weight or make another bad habit you want to quit RU Recovery Ministries can help. You are at the right place RU has helped thousands of people just like you experience revolutionary results in their spiritual, professional, and personal lives by delving into these materials, and applying the principles to their lives.
The underlying secret to permanent habit change is that there are no shortcuts in life. If you are the kind of person who likes to dabble with bits and pieces of a system; or start something but not finish; then this program will not help you! The people who have seen maximum results from this program have been those who have followed the directions, made themselves accountable to others, and stuck with the program day after day to completion. The following are 13 Tips For Breaking Bad Habits and Developing Good Habits Through the RU Program:
1. What habits need to change? Identify the end results of what you would like to accomplish from this program.
What bad habits do you have? When you came to this program it was because there was something about your life that seemed to not be working. Maybe your problem has created conflict in an important relationship in your life or career. Maybe it is apathy – your nonchalant disregard for the important things in life. Or, maybe your goal is to rid yourself of an existing “bad” habit or behavior. Be sure to identify your goal. Be sure to identify the behavior you are going to substitute along with the “new” behavior. Be very specific. “I want to be a better Christian” or “I want to quit smoking” is not a new habit. “I will study the curriculum on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6pm to 7pm instead of watching television” is more specific and doable. Develop a strategy for completing your program so the end results can be attained. You will look to self-discipline and accountability to get there; but in time, the grace of God will supernaturally empower you, of this I am convinced!
2. Why do you need to change those habits? Discover your motivations for sticking to and finishing the program.
Write down all of your motivations for using the RU program inside the cover of your Bible, Strongholds Study Course, or in the notes pages of your “It’s Personal” Daily Journal. We all have different motivations for accomplishing things. For example, you may want to get in shape, lose weight, lower your blood pressure, or feel youthful. Look at how this completing this program will benefit all areas of your life, not just your spirit or soul, but your body as well. God wants you to glorify Him in all things! So consider how this program will affect your relationship with God, spouse, children, job, income, social contacts, and physical health. The more thorough you are when doing this exercise, the easier it will be for you to follow through! Keep writing until you can’t imagine a life without finishing this program.
3. What if you don’t change those habits? Examine the consequences for quitting this program.
Along with the reasons why you should finish, write down the ways you will be negatively affected if your life does not change dramatically. Again, consider all areas of your life: spiritual, physical and emotional. We all have urges to quit bad habits. Have powerful reasons not to quit ready and accessible, so you are prepared when doubts come.
4. Make a public commitment. Be fully committed.
This will do the trick every time. We understand that this may be uncomfortable to you to reveal the habits you are struggling with, but if you don’t get things out in the open for discussion and have accountability, you’ll never see a change.
5. Choose an accountability partner to support you in your development to help keep you focused and motivated.
This can be your Pastor, RU Director, Counsel Leader or other trusted spiritually mature counselor. This partner will help keep you on track. You can report your progress (and failures) as you go along. They will be there for great advice, for moral support, and to help keep you going when you want to stop. Marks of a good accountability partner are:
Unity – Either an accountability partner of the same gender or your spouse is preferred so you can comfortably share your inward struggles and failures. This is also so that the dynamics of a romantic relationship do not develop and interfere with your progress.
Solidarity – Someone who understands your struggles and has developed past them can often be more effective in helping you. They know where you are coming from, and can speak from experience.
Transparency – Pick a partner who can have forthright and candid conversations with you. Accountability is not useful if you are lying about your struggles or progress with your partner.
6. Find inspiration from God on a daily basis.
Inspiration is one of the best motivators, and it can be found every day in the Word of God and by prayer. As you will learn, all communication from God is intended to produce a proper daily meditation. Every day, ask God for new inspiration for your meditations, and it will help sustain motivation over the long term.
7. Always think positively about what God is trying to accomplish.
Squash all negative thoughts while you monitor your thoughts. According to the Bible, what a person thinks is what they become. The Bible also tells us that all thoughts that are negative, unbelieving, or untrue need to be pushed out, and replaced with positive (truthful) thoughts. Positive thinking based on God’s Word can be amazingly transformational. Negative thinking has destroyed every negative thinker! You will NOT be an exception.
8. Give it time – be patient. This is often easier said than done.
Our 21st-century thinking causes us to expect instant results. When you think about your goals, think long term. It has taken you years to develop the problems and mindsets that have led you to this program. So obviously, it will take God some time to change your thinking and bad habits.
9. Track your progress without condemnation.
When you are not being consistent or lapsing, ask yourself “Why?” But be careful not to “beat yourself up” over a lapse. Ask God to help you have the strength to finish what you started.
10. Plan for a marathon, not a sprint.
This is going to take a little time. Here are some methods for not burning out:
- Break your goals into smaller, mini-goals. Sometimes large or long-term goals can be overwhelming. Instead of saying you are going to read a whole book or do 10 challenges today, say you will read 10 pages during lunch, or do a challenge over your coffee break.
- Don’t burn yourself out the first week in your enthusiasm for a new life. Plan out a course of action where you slowly increase your effort over time, then prepare for God’s grace on your behalf to keep it going. Keep a pace that you can reasonably maintain till you finish the program.
11. Make the program enjoyable.
One reason you might be tempted to put off the program is because it is hard work. This is true, but the key to success is to find a way to make it fun or pleasurable. For instance, if you do not enjoy memorizing, try making it into a song or a game. If you do not enjoy reading, try reading the book with someone you enjoy, rather than watching television with them. If you focus on making this program enjoyable, the duty of it will become a delight.
12. Just do it.
Though God is standing by to orchestrate a good work in you, you must strengthen your relationship with Him in order to stimulate this workmanship. You are going to have to conclude that you are going to do it! This is essential. Your life has come to the point, either through apathy or addiction that it cannot go on any longer. Stop making excuses and just start doing the program! Here is some thought for helping you with this:
- Just get started. There are some days when you will not feel like getting out of bed, or reading, or journaling. Instead of thinking about how hard it is and how long it will take, ask God for help to start then do it! He will help you.
- Make it a rule to never skip time with God two days in a row. This rule takes into account our natural tendency to miss days now and then. We are not perfect. So, you missed one day … now the second day is upon you and you are feeling lazy, apathetic, or discouraged … tell yourself NO! You will not miss two days in a row
- Commit to these new habits (reading, memorization, meditation, and journaling) for a minimum of 30 days uninterrupted. Research tells us that it takes a minimum of 3-4 weeks to develop a new habit. Don’t quit. Permanent, healthy habits are just around the corner.
13. Chart Your Progress with the Daily Journal.
The Journal has many helpful daily disciplines that will help track how you are progressing. Make a habit of looking back on your previous day to see how closely you followed God’s direction for that day. Then, at longer intervals, (weekly, monthly, etc.) look at previous days in your journal to see how you are developing through your struggles and see the victory. You will be amazed at the progress that you will see in hindsight.
This whole program may seem daunting, but thousands have gone before you. Remember the only way to eat an elephant is…one bite at a time! Don’t worry; we are here to help you at every stage of your journey. Visit rurecovery.com/getprk to learn more about our in-home Personal Recovery Kit that can help you on your journey.