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Walking Away from Destructive Habits/Patterns

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We all have bad habits. But what makes one habit worse than another? Is chewing my nails worse than someone who picks their nose? Are those even bad habits? Or is lying or cheating in school worse? Who considers the scale of what makes a “bad” habit bad??

Growing up, there were a few years where my family observed Lent by giving up something. One year I have up texting for the 40 day period. Another year I gave up soda, but thanks to some caffeine withdrawal headaches I didn’t make it the full 40 days. As an adult I’ve considered celebrating Lent in this way again. But honestly? I don’t want to give anything up. You are supposed to give something up that will be a struggle for you. Coffee. Netflix. A certain type of food. Shopping. Social media. The 40 days are supposed to be a struggle.

I make this illustration because maybe the items I don’t want to give up for Lent are bad habits. Maybe going to a coffee shop 3-5 times a week is a bad habit. Maybe spending 4-8 hours a day watching Netflix isn’t the best use of my time. Maybe I need to take a break from social media so that I’m not placing too much stock in how people view me and my life.

So once we have identified these bad habits of ours, what’s the next step? Do we quit cold turkey? I think in order to be the most effective, we need to have a supportive community around us. Let your close friends join you on this journey. Maybe each of you give up a bad habit and help each other through the ups and downs. Or maybe you just confide in them and have them as accountability partners. I also think you should try to replace the bad habit with a good habit. Instead of watching a show on Netflix, grab a book. Instead of going to Target to shop, go through your closet and donate some items to Goodwill. Instead of going out to buy an overpriced cup of coffee, start making your own at home. Take up yoga. Walk around the park. Use your free time to have a daily quiet time with God. The options are endless for how to replace your bad habit.

They say it takes about 21 days to form a habit. Do you love yourself enough to make the change and keep it up for 21 days?

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