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How to Stop Bad Habits and Start Something Good

Every morning at 5:00, I go to the gym.

My neighbor, a man a few years older than me, walked on the treadmill next to my usual one. He walked at a slow pace for about 15 minutes every morning. My usual thoughts were, “Good for you. You are up and moving.” One day, I passed by his house and saw him smoking on the porch. I was shocked. How could someone so disciplined to go to the gym every morning still smoke?

Stop Making Excuses

I see this attitude at the gym all the time. People refuse to change the way they eat and just say, “I need to go to the gym more.” Then they go every day to the gym and wonder why they do not lose weight. Must be their hormones… No! It is what you eat. How to stop bad habits before they take over your good ones?

Do What’s Right

Psalm 34:14a tells us to “turn from evil and do good”. Simply put, turn away from evil and do what is right.

This Biblical principle is really simple: stop doing something bad before you start something good. We know what is right. We know we should eat right, get enough sleep, exercise, reduce stress, etc. Looking at bad habits in this way can help you gain control over them.

How to stop bad habits and turn them into good:

  • Stop eating junk food before you join the gym.
  • Stop smoking before you start exercising.
  • Stop frivolously spending money before you set out on a savings plan.
  • Go through your closet to assess what clothes you need before going on a shopping spree.

You get the picture.

Do Something Good

In a perfect world, you would replace a bad habit with something good. This is what I teach when doing diet counseling. I ask, “What can you replace the soda with that will make you feel just as excited to drink as the soda?”

Be careful not to justify a bad habit because you did something good. I hear, “I can have this chocolate dessert because I worked out today.” That does not work in the long term. Remove this kind of thinking. You will end up justifying all your bad habits instead of changing them.

Your weight is dependent on what you eat. Your fitness depends on your exercise habits. You can’t exercise off a Big Mac and fries. We have long known that the saying “calories in verses calories out” is a myth. Don’t believe you can simply exercise off everything you eat.

Being responsible for your own behavior and the consequences of your behavior is the way to long-lasting healthy habits. Stop justifying your bad habits by doing more good habits. Stop doing something bad before doing something good.

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