Stop Starting New Habits This Year

I heard recently, “Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.” Uh, that’s me — guilty! When the calendar turned from 2016 to 2017, many of us me included— turned our focus to what we want to “start” doing or what new habits we want to “begin.”

I made a list of resolutions. I narrowed it down to the doable. I chose the one biggie and I tried really hard and… well… my old habits have tagged along into this new year, uninvited, unwelcome, but here they are!  I think that is because most of the time, we need to let go of old habits  so the new habits can have a place to grow.

What if this new year, you focused less on what to start and instead, placed your focus and effort into habits you want to stop?

Let go of old habits so the new habits can have a place to grow. [Click to Tweet]
For me, my simple — which isn’t very easy goal this new year is to learn restraint and apply what I learn! That is my biggie! I really need to develop the habit of listening longer before I speak, thinking more thoroughly before I spout my opinion (or not spout it at all) and just plain slow down before I act in general. That’s the habit I want to begin, but what habit do I need to end for the new habit to take root and have a fighting chance of bearing fruit in my life?

Reacting.

A habit I want to end in 2017 is reacting. As much as I hate to admit it, I often react rather than respond. I open my mouth and let every unfiltered thought fly out at the speed of light! It’s a habit I’ve worked on for a long time and I am way too good at it! Ha!

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So, if I’m going to develop the habit of restraint, I’ve got to tune in to my habit of reacting. If I ask the Lord to help me really notice when I am reacting, or about to react, I can start to get that old habit out of my life.
We need grit and grace to end old habits and begin new ones.
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It seems old habits die hard and new habits form at a snail’s pace, don’t they? The way I see it is we need grit and grace to deal with old habits and begin new ones. Grit is our will, our volition, our intent and choice. Grit is our “want-to” and “will do!” Our grit is what we muster up and give to God for Him to support with His grace. Sometimes our grit is the size of  Mt. Everest and sometimes it’s as tiny as a grain of sand!

Oh girl, my grit is itty bitty when it comes to this old habit of reacting! My “want to” is gigantic, but my “will do” is about as powerful as a feather in a hurricane!

That’s why I am leaning hard on God’s grace.

Grace is what God gives us knowing our grit is insufficient, no matter how big and strong it is! Grace is what God gives us to equip us to even have and use our own grit. Grace is God’s kindness, strength and provision lavished upon our need.

Grace is God’s kindness, strength and provision lavished upon our need. [Click to Tweet]
We don’t undo old habits or start doing new ones by our grit alone. We can try, and by March our grit will leave us at the dead end of discouragement, surrounded by broken resolutions and unfulfilled promises. If we want a little victory when it comes to our habits, we must merge our will with God’s will… merge our grit with His grace.

I decided to choose a verse to go with the habit I want to end and it works perfectly too with the habit I want to begin!

To get victory, we merge our will with God’s Will, our grit with His grace.
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Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)

(If you did my Me, Myself and Lies Bible Study, you may be smiling because that is the verse I used as the theme and here I am still learning what I teach!)

Scripture keeps God’s grace flowing and helps our grit to grow. [Click to Tweet]

I am meditating on the verse, singing it, engaging my lips with scriptures so they are less quick to engage in an ill-timed reaction! Scripture fills our minds with Truth and fuels our actions. Scripture keeps God’s grace flowing and helps my grit to grow.

So…

  1. Pick a habit you want to end.
  2. Choose a Scripture to guide your thoughts and actions.
  3. Ask God for some grit and lots of grace .

Ta-da, a new habit — the one you want  — will start to develop and take the place of the old one that you left behind!

Remember, it’s all about grace — God will give you the grit. He will guide you. He will give you all you need.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

What about you? What habit do you want to “end” in 2017? Identifying the habit you want to leave behind in 2016 is the first step to initiating a new one. God’s grace and your grit will help undo the old and usher in the new! 

Please share the habits you’re ready to end in the comments below!