Monday, July 16, 2012

Breaking Bad Habits (Part 4): The Secret Weapon

So, what's that ONE THING that makes all the difference?  What's the silver bullet?  What's that secret weapon that finally helps us overcome those bad habits that plague us for years?  First, I'll give you a few hints.  It's not a magic pill.  It's not a book.  It's not a particular program.  Some books and programs can really give you an edge, but they usually only work if you employ this secret weapon first.

During the second half of my first year of college, I quit working out and began living on junk food to relieve the stress and boredom that can come with college life.  I gained a significant amount of weight and began to feel miserable.  After about a year and a half, and 60 pounds later, I finally realized that I had a problem that I needed to deal with.  I bought a bunch of books, did a ton of research and learned everything I could about weight loss, exercise and healthy eating.  EVERY SINGLE WEEK FOR A FULL YEAR, I made a detailed plan of healthy eating and exercise and set a weight loss goal.  Every week, I decided that I was going to start the following Monday.  Monday would roll around, I would start my program, mess up on Tuesday or Wednesday, and throw away the plan and draw up a new one. 

"Surely, the problem was in my plan," I figured.

One weekend, out of desperation, I said a simple prayer,  "God, you have to help me.  I can't do this on my own.  I've tried everything and I'm out of options."

The following Monday, I began my program like usual but something happened this time.  Somehow, for some reason, I rolled through the mistakes of Tuesday and Wednesday and just kept going.  In fact, I rolled through the mistakes of every day for the next 15 weeks, and lost about 60 pounds.  Why was this time different?

As I look back and see the few times that I've had success in overcoming any negative habit or situation in my life, it's always begun with SURRENDER.  In every situation, I've fought the habit over and over again by myself with little success. Finally, when I was completely exhausted and feeling hopeless, I surrendered the situation to God. Once I sincerely surrendered, I had the power to overcome.

I've come to realize that the problem we face in trying to overcome bad habits is a LACK OF POWER.  If you have followed Part 1: Why do we Fail? and Part 2: Where's the POWER in My Willpower of the Breaking Bad Habits series of posts, you've seen that it's not easy.  Once those habits are in place, we've got a battle on our hands.  Unfortunately, in my experience, we lack the POWER to overcome them.  Therefore, my new definition for Willpower is: The Willingness to Accept God's Power.  I believe that the secret weapon in overcoming bad habits is SURRENDER.

What About You?

Have you ever fought a bad habit on your own with little success?  Do you have any other Tips for overcoming bad habits?  If so, please share them in the Comments of this post. 

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  1. Aaron,I agree with the surrender part but I also agree with staying in the fight and doing what needs to be done..I have a quote that has guided me through rough waters.."Pray to God but keep rowing to shore" Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

  2. Kathy,

    Thank you for visiting my blog. Yah, you bring up a great point there. When we think of surrender, we often think of laying down and giving up. That doesn't work either. I think in this case Surrender means giving up on doing it yourself and giving up on doing it perfectly. Then, fight through (and row) one day at a time praying to God for strength on the journey. Giving God control but also doing our part is a tough balance to find, but is the answer for so many struggles in life, in my opinion. Thank you very much for bringing up this point. I didn't expand on that real well in my post, but completely agree with your comment.

    Thanks again,