Come close. I have a secret to tell you. Breaking old and reestablishing new habits in your life cannot be done by sheer willpower alone.
That's right! It's impossible! But, society leads us to believe that it can be done.
It is no wonder we often question our failures with thoughts such as, “Why can’t I stick with my goals? Why do I always fail in my attempt to bring about a new habit?”
Have you ever had these thoughts? I know I have - many times over again.
Breaking old habits and making new ones is a life-long journey filled with its share of ups and downs.
Unfortunately, for most people, the journey toward change ends almost as quickly as it starts.
Why is this?
Why is it so hard for people to introduce and then stick with new habits?
The answer, I believe, comes down to a misstep in dependency.
Our society is obsessed with helping people live a healthier life (and for good reason!).
Everywhere you turn there are researchers, doctors, nutritionists, and fitness experts, pointing you to doing life differently - healthier.
I include myself in this group of people who help others break old habits in order to find new and improved habits.
While these individuals (myself included) have good intentions and good hearts for wanting people to live a better way of life, it is not the entire answer.
You see, experts ask you to use your grit and willpower to make behavior changes.
“Schedule time into your day to exercise.”
“Meal plan in order to eat better.”
”Turn off your phone 2 hours before bed to get good quality sleep.”
“Cut out activities that are not a priority in your current season of life.”
“Do deep breathing exercises to reduce stress.”
These are all well-intended and solid pieces of advice for being healthier. But, each of these suggestions require change to come from sheer willpower.
The willpower to say no to tasks you love. The willpower to turn off your phone. The willpower to get up early to exercise. The willpower to stop and remember to breathe.
Willpower is a muscle and it is weak. It is a muscle that few of us have exercised in years (or maybe never exercised).
It is easier for our brains to maintain habits (the same, the comfortable, the familiar) than it is to execute new ones.
It’s no wonder we struggle to make changes in our lives. When we let willpower alone be the answer to behavior change, then failure will likely be the result.
If grit alone is not the answer to change, then what is?
The secret to making lasting changes to new behaviors is about inviting God into your heart.
When you invite God into your mess, you are asking Him to change your lifesource of where your actions originate. A change in your beliefs, changes your thoughts, and your actions follow suite.
It is only through a heart change, that lasting change can take root.
You turn off our phone one night, only to be on it the next night. Why? The fear of missing out on others lives (FOMO) prevents you from setting aside your phone.
You can say no to one activity, but yes to the next. Why? Because your desire for success, accomplishment, and recognition is so strong in your heart that saying no is nearly impossible.
You can remember deep breathing exercises as a way to manage your stress one day, but not the next. Why? The desire of pleasing your boss outweighs your desire for pleasing God.
Do you see why change through grit alone is not permanent? You are attempting to change the environment or symptom without changing the heart - the source for your action.
Change is less about altering your external environment and more about altering your heart.
And it is through God (and God alone) that a heart-change is possible.
Friend, if you are serious about wanting to have a better and healthier life, I would suggest adding the missing piece of the puzzle to your life - the invitation for God to be a part of your mess.
And then slowly, day-by-day, you will see lasting behavior change.
Friend, it is my prayer for you that in 2019 you invite God into your messy heart. Don't be ashamed of it. We all are hot messes in our own way. God wants nothing more than to open your heart to Him.
I have developed some scripture cards for you to download, print off, and scatter throughout your home to remind you that it is only with God's help that a heart change, and thus an ability to sustain a behavior change, can occur. It is my prayer that you will meditate on God's truths each day and invite Him into your mess. You can find these scripture cards in the resource section of my website.
Praying you through,
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