Manage your environment
You resolved to eat better, but that tub of ice cream seems to have your name written all over it.
You decided to quit smoking, but once again, your friend- who knows you are trying to quit- offers you a cigarette.
You planned to exercise today, but even digging through the closest for your running shoes seems like too much work
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Can you see a common thread in those scenarios? Time and again, experience has shown that our environment- the situations we put ourselves in and the people we spend time with- influences our success in building good habits and breaking bad ones.
â€œthe shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself, but the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences.â€ Proverbs 22:3
The bible advises us to think ahead. By doing so, we can cautiously avoid situations that could undermine our goals, and we can thus actively put ourselves in more favorable situations. (2Timothy 2:22) in short, we are wise to manage our environment.
What can you do
1 make it harder to do the wrong thing. For example, if you want to eliminate junk food from your diet, try not to keep food in your kitchen that you know is not good for you. That way, when temptation strikes, giving in will require more effort than not giving in
2 make it easier to do the right thing. For instance, if you plan to exercise first thing in the morning, set your exercise clothing next to your bed the night before. The easier it is to get started, the more likely you are to follow through.
3 choose your friends carefully, we tend to become like the people we spend time with. (1 corinthians
15:33). so limit contact with people who encourage habits that you are trying to break, and seek out those who can reinforce good habits.
â€œmake it harder to do the wrong thing and easier to do the right thing.â€
Take a long-range view
There is a popular notion that it takes 21 day to cement a new habit. In reality, though, research shows that it can take some people less time- and others a lot more to make significant changes. Should that discourage you?
Well, think of this scenario: imagine that you want to build a habit of exercising three times a week.
- The first week you meet your goal
- The second week, you miss a day
- The third week, you are back on track
- The fourth week, you barely exercise once
- The fifth week, you reach your goal again, and from that point forward, you meet it each week
It took five weeks to solidify your new habit. That may seem like a long time, but once you reach your goal, you will be glad you have cultivated a new good habit.
â€œ the righteous one may fall seven times, and he will get up again.â€ Proverbs 24:16
The bible encourages a log-range view. What counts in the end is, not how many times we fall, but how many times we get up again.
- Do not conclude that a relapse is a permanent failure. Expect to face some setbacks as you work toward your goal
- Focus on the times when things went right. For example, if you are trying to improve the way you communicate with your children, ask yourself: â€˜when was the last time I felt like yelling at my children, but didnâ€™t? What did I do instead? How can I repeat that? Such questions can help you to reinforce your successes rather than dwell on your setbacks.
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â€œWhat counts in the end is, not how many times we fall, but how many times we get up again.â€