6 Steps to Break a Bad Habit

174563159 I have some bad habits and laying my clothes on the bench at the foot of our bed is one of those.  Mark is very kind and rarely addresses my pile of clothes, but even if they don’t bother him, they do bother me!  Yet, I continue my bad habit nonetheless!

So I’ve been working on breaking my habit.

It’s not been easy, but I’m starting to experience some success!  As I’ve worked to change my habit, I’ve identified 6 steps to breaking a bad habit:

1) Identify the actual habit.  Sometimes we get overwhelmed with life, but we don’t stop to think about what is actually causing us to feel overwhelmed.  I was feeling overwhelmed walking into my bedroom.  When I dug into “why,” I realized that it was the pile of clothes at the foot of the bed.

2) Keep thinking. When I change from my clothes to my pj’s, I realized that I often did so brainlessly.  By keeping my brain thinking just one minute more, I’m able to think through making a decision about where my clothes go.

3) Don’t delay making decisions.  Procrastination is often at the heart of a bad habit. Truthfully, by the end of the day I often just don’t want to make one more decision. However, I’ve been forcing myself to make the decision about where my clothes go: do they need to be hung back up? Put in the dirty clothes? Taken to the cleaners?

4) Replace the bad habit with a good one.  Resist the urge to just say “I’m not going to do this anymore.”  Instead, tell yourself, “I’m going to do this now.”  In my case, I’ve been telling myself, “I’m going to take care of my clothes now.”

5) Watch the thoughts that go on in your head. The kind of thoughts that sabotage our new habits are “rationalizing” thoughts: “I’m too tired, I’ll do that tomorrow,” or “I’ll get serious about _________ after this weekend.”


NMPM cover with subtitle and correct colors 6) Embrace the perfecting process!
 We all get off track at some point. We’re human.  Embrace your imperfections and ask God to perfect you in your bad habits.  This is called maturity and God loves it when we ask Him to help us grow and change!

What about you? Do you have any other strategies to add to this list for breaking bad habits? 

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3 Responses to 6 Steps to Break a Bad Habit

  1. Tristi says:

    Thanks Jill. I needed this. It seems like such a simple little thing but from my own life, it is overwhelming. I was just wondering why I was feeling so much anxiety this morning. You encourage me to take some time to look around and identify what is stressing me out (likely the messes I don’t care to address because I claim to be too tired). I have to add that you take all my excuses away. If you can think of overcoming such a minor thing, in my opinion, during such a heavy season of your life… well, I have no excuse. Thanks again. Praying you and your family have a restful blessed Thanksgiving in the midst of this storm of your life.

  2. Becky Doescher says:

    I have recently been reading the book “The Power of Habit” (Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business) by Charles Duhigg and he was stating that we have cues that cause us to automatically do something and it is the reward that determines the motivation. I’m finding it to be a very informative read and highly recommend it.

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