Thursday, August 2, 2012

Breaking Habits

The picture on your left show ruts formed by wagons in the 1800s on the Oregon Trail. When the rut first started, it was shallow. But the more it was traveled on, the deeper the ruts became—and the harder it was to get out of it. It is said that years ago someone posted a sign that read, “Avoid this rut or you will be in it for the next 25 miles!” Even so, it was possible to get out of the rut if they were determined to do it.

Maybe you are in a rut that’s taking you down the wrong road. The “rut” has been caused by your bad habits. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together, as is the habit of some.” Christians who isolate themselves from fellowship tend to become cynical and critical of churches. To get back into fellowship, you must get out of your chair and discipline yourself to do it. If you don't live near a good church, then start a Bible study group. Do something to interact with other believers.

A Princeton University study found that if you do the same thing every day for 28 consecutive days it will become a habit. A habit is simply reinforced behavior. Perhaps you don’t like where you’re going or what’s happening to you as a result, but you don’t know how to get out of it. How do you break free from your rut? Several things are necessary.

Getting Out of Your Rut
1.Envision yourself out of the rut. The first step is to see in your mind your goal or end result that you want to happen. If you need to lose weight, envision yourself as skinnier. This vision in your mind must become greater than your desire to eat the wrong things. You must see yourself out of debt before you will ever get out of debt.

2. Make a decision to get out of your rut. You must decide to change in your heart, not your head. Your head will say, “I need to change” but your heart is what motivates you to do it. Your heart must turn before your habits turn. If you aren’t determined to get out of your rut, you will never get out of it. You will make a few attempts, but then go back to it.

3. Change your behavior. Now comes the hard part. You can’t keep doing what got you in the rut. If you are in heavy debt, you must stop spending and start paying it off. I usually have cookies in my house that I snack on every day. They are so good! But I’ve noticed that I’ve been slowly putting on weight, and I think I have figured out that those cookies have something to do with it. I’m trying to lose a few pounds, so I have removed the cookies from my house. If they are in the cupboard, I will eat them! It is much easier to not have them so easy to get to.

4. Monitor your progress. I step on the scale every morning so I can monitor my progress. It’s amazing how effortlessly I can put on weight, but how slowly it comes off! Nevertheless, I know if I will stay the course, the goal will be reached.

You can’t do it in your own power, but you can get out of any rut through the power of the Holy Spirit. Follow me on Twitter @KentCrockett