by Beth Livingston
Certified Recovery Specialist
A quick search on making and keeping New Year’s Resolutions will reveal that a good number of people still make them. One Psychology Today article said that the top three resolutions made by Americans were losing weight, quitting smoking, and spending less. Do you see the common thread of quitting? Often, that’s what the goal is – quit doing something that’s not good for you.
If quitting were as simple as making a resolution, the failure rate for New Year’s resolutions would not be so high. So, what can we do to have a better chance of keeping our promises?
Here are a few tips from a recovery perspective:
1. Own the behavior. No one has been making you do anything! You have been carrying out this behavior. Yes, there may be factors from your past or present that led you to seek comfort in the habit; but using those as excuses or “reasons why” will not likely lead to change.
2. Don’t kid yourself that you can do it alone. If there’s a habit that needs quitting, it’s had power over you for a period of time. We are all sinful beings with limited control. Romans 7:18 says, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. Take time daily, hourly, or each time you are tempted to ask God to help you win the battle. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” Bottom line is to cling to the Holy Spirit and believe that the power of Almighty God can overcome that which you cannot.
3. Try to find the root of the problem. What are you feeling when you indulge in your bad habit? Do you say you just need it? If so, you’re believing a lie. Find out through meditative prayer what lie you are believing. Ask God to show you what he sees in your life that drives you to this habit. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.” Sometimes it’s good to seek godly counsel to dig deep into this area. If this sounds helpful to you, ask your pastor for guidance or contact a Christian Psychologist.
4. If you fall down, get back up again. Throwing in the towel is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do. 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” God wants you to experience the abundant life, no longer a slave to habits that destroy seek to destroy you. So follow the guidance of Hebrews 12:1-2, “let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith…” He doesn’t give up on us, so neither should we.
Father God, please help us to have victory over these areas of our lives that have ensnared us and are not glorifying to you. Do whatever it takes to get us there. Help us to be ready to do our part in the process. Thank you for telling us to cast our cares on you. We trust you and are longing to be free. We thank you in advance for what you are going to do. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Beth Livingston, used by permission.