The Best Year of Your Life Pt.4 – Habits
We are designed by God to be creatures of habit, and many of us are stuck in a pattern of negative ones.
Most people are plagued with the “Someday Syndrome” Your SOMEDAY must be TODAY.
Someday, things will get better in my life.
Someday, I will start to tithe and serve
Someday, I will start to pray and read my Bible
Someday, I will earn more money
Someday, I will get healthier
Someday, I will spend more time with my family
Unfortunately, “SOMEDAY” never comes – Today is the day we have.
Example – The Domino Effect
•One habit triggers other habits causing an accumulative effect on your life – good or bad.
•Habits and human behavior are tied to one another – Habits are seeds that produce a harvest.
(Hebrews 12:11 NIV) “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.
I am completely at your command.
Half the things you do you might just as well turn over to me, and I will be able to do them quickly, correctly.
I am easily managed – you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done, and after a few lessons I will do it automatically.
I am the servant of all great people; and alas, of all failures as well. Those who are failures, I have made failures.
I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a human being.
You may run me for a profit or turn me for ruin – it makes no difference to me.
Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.
Who am I?
I AM HABIT.
You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.
H-A-B-I-T…When 95% of people hear this word, a negative thought pops up in their minds. Typically, most people think of a habit being negative. If there are negative habits that can destroy people’s lives then there are also positive habits that can build our lives.
The secret to your future lies in your daily habits so ask yourself right now, “Are my habits today going to help me achieve my success and shift in life?”
“Successful people are simply those with successful habits”
Habits – a usual way of behaving : something that a person does often in a regular and repeated way; a pattern of behavior. Habit comes from a Latin word which means to “hold” or “live in”.
The Roman poet Ovid said, “Nothing is stronger than habit.” Dr. Samuel Johnson, said, “Habits are chains that are too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” Habits can become stronger than life itself. An old Spanish proverb says, “Habits begin like threads in a spider’s web, but end like the chains in a prison.”
Some people are always late, while others are never late
Some people always see the problems, while others always see the possibilities
Some people are predictable frowners, while others are predictable smilers
•the habit of making yourself look good
•the habit of not giving and serving
•the habit of giving up too early
•the habit of not telling the whole truth
•the habit of taking the easy way
•the habit of getting angry all the time
•the habit of blaming others for everything
•the habit of feeling sorry for yourself
•the habit of ducking your responsibilities
Do I need to go on? Have I named your bad habit yet?
In 1989 Steven Covey wrote a bestselling book entitled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” which outlined 7 habits which he promises guarantee success in life.
Success often depends on the habits you develop. The Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, We are what we repeatedly do.
A doctor was counseling his patient about a problem with his weight. “I don’t know what the problem is doctor. I just can’t seem to get rid of this flab. Maybe I have an overactive thyroid.” To which the doctor replied, “Listen, I’ve run tests and your thyroid is fine. If anything’s overactive it’s your fork.” LOL
•Ouch! That’s not what we like to hear! It’s not always easy to get rid of unhealthy habits, is it? It’s not always easy to develop new healthy habits you’ve never practiced before. But the truth is your habits really can make you or break you. One of the keys to living life to the fullest is to develop healthy habits not only of body, but of mind and spirit.
I want to look to a better book than Covey’s—I want us to look at God’s book, the Bible, where we can discover habits which can guarantee success in your life-not success in the stock market, or success as the world measures success, or lasting success in the eyes of God.
Isaiah 55:7-9 NIV – Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”declares the Lord.9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
1. Bad Habits Are Difficult to Break
Destructive, bad habits form unseen chains that make a slave out of you – and finally destroy you.
Repeat anything long enough and it will start to become you
Bad habits are easy to develop, and often hard to deal with and remove. The best time to deal with a bad habit is NOW! To delay only allows the habit to get entrenched deeper in our lives.
JC Penney said, The best way to stop a bad habit is never to begin it
A bad habit is something you find yourself doing even though it is destructive either physical, mentally, emotionally, relationally or spiritually. Or you consistently do something you wish you wouldn’t do, but you find yourself doing it any way.
(Romans 7:15, 18-19, 20-21, 25 NLT) “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 18 I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it. 21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
•Confused. •Conflicted. •Discouraged.
ILL. I heard the story of how elephants are brought into captivity. Have you ever been to a circus and seen a giant elephant with a small rope around its ankle? Did you ever stop to think, hey, wait a minute? Physically speaking, there is no way that small little rope can hold back that giant elephant! And did you ever wonder how it happened that a giant elephant could be held in place by something that does not have the power to contain him.
Here’s how it works. When trainers begin taming a baby elephant, they place a heavy chain around its ankle and stake the chain into the ground. Day after day, hour after hour, the baby elephant struggles to escape. But his efforts are in vain. He simply cannot break free from the grips of that powerful chain. Eventually he surrenders. He resolves in his mind that there is no possible way he can escape that chain. So he relinquishes forever the struggle to be free.
Then when he has given up trying, his masters replace that giant chain with the small little rope. If the elephant ever opened his eyes to the truth, he could break free at any moment. All it would take is one try, but since the elephant doesn’t know that, he doesn’t take a step in the right direction of freedom.
And so it happens that ten, twenty, thirty years later, the giant elephant remains held in bondage by something that really has no power to control him, except the power he chooses to give it.
The Promise is:
Galatians 5:1 NLT – So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
True freedom is not the right to do what I want but the power to do what I ought!
Romans 12:2 NLT – “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
Harness the Power of a Good Habit – Bad habits must be replaced by good ones
It’s not so much that we break bad habits; we must replace them.
example– Worry needs replaced with trust in God, negative thoughts with faith filled positive thoughts
Ex: An old Cherokee tale tells of a grandfather teaching life principles to his grandson. The wise old Cherokee said Son on the inside of every person a battle is raging between 2 wolves. One wolf is evil… It’s angry, jealous, unforgiving, proud and lazy. The other wolf is good. It’s filled with love, kindness, generosity and self control… the 2 wolves are constantly fighting. The little boy thought about it and said Grandfather, which wolf is going to win? The grandfather smiled and said whichever one you feed.
Ephesians 4:17-24 NIV – So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
2. To Have a Great Year You Must Have Great Habits
•Luke 4:16 – Jesus had a habit of going to church every Sabbath
•Daniel 6:10 – Daniel had a habit of giving thanks to God in prayer three times a day
•Psalms 34:1 – David had a habit of praising God continually
When you change habits, by improving them, you literally change and improve your life.
•A change of habit can change your financial position… you can be in a completely different position 3 months from now…
•A change of habit can put you in better relationships… (attend life group)
•A change of habit can change the atmosphere of your Home
•A change of habit can add incredible insight to your life… (reading books)
•A change of habit can add years to your life and increase the quality of your life…
OUR LIFE GETS BETTER WHEN WE GET BETTER.
When you practice good habits you produce good fruit. (results) Good habits will make your life easier, more successful, and more productive.
Matt. 12:33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit.
“For things to change, you have to change. For things to get better, you have to get better. For things to improve, you have to improve. When you grow, everything in your life grows with you.” Jim Rohn
Habits are like gravity; they will always pull you towards them.
First We make a Habit, then a Habit makes us
Nobody is going to compete in the Olympics without first embracing a lifestyle of Habit. Champions have champion habits.
If you want to rise above mediocrity…If you want to create a positive force that will move you towards massive success….then you must develop good habits.
(1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT) “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.”
(Hebrews 12:1 NLT) “…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 that God has set before us.”
“We sow our thoughts, and we reap our actions. We sow our actions and we reap our habits. We sow our habits, and we reap our character, and we reap our destiny.”
When You Change your Habits, by replacing them, You literally change and improve your Life
Bad habits are not one time experiences. When what you do repeatedly changes, your life changes
Life Style habits that change our lives when we change (Shift) them:
Spending habits, driving habits, social habits, talking habits, dressing habits, eating and drinking habits, giving habits, reading habits, sexual habits, church attendance habits, and exercise habits.
Those Change of Habit:
Can qualify you for a promotion,
Can open the door for new and better relationships to enter your life
Can increase and position you in a place of prosperity
Can change the atmosphere in your home
Can add years to your life and increase the quality of your life
If We are not making positive habits in our lives, then negative habits (changes) are making us.
When it comes to God’s plan for your life and year, your habits will hold you back or move you forward.
•If you could change one habit, what would you change? Whatever the answer is, make every effort to add to who you already are as a person
2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV – For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Never Stop Changing Never stop replacing Habit for Habit. Whenever negative habits are allowed to linger in our lives, they steal the possibilities of a new and better life!
It’s not what you HEAR that makes you Change, It’s what you DO
Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by CHANGE. Don’t be a victim of your habits.
James 1:22-25 ESV – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become words
Be careful of your words, for your words become actions
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become habits
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny
3. The Next step towards having the best year of your life is to DECIDE you’re not going to stay where you are.
Your Future is Determined by Your Decisions
Deuteronomy 30:19 NIV – This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live
Choose – pick out or select (someone or something) as being the best or most appropriate of two or more alternatives.
Your Best year of your life starts by the Habits your make TODAY. NOW is the TIME to fix the Next 10 years!
Your future is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice! Today’s decisions will have a big impact on your life and future.
•You are one good habit away from a domino effect of having a great year!
You make decisions and decisions will make you.” – Lester Sumrall
“Success and failure are not overnight experiences. It’s the small decisions along the way that cause people to fail or succeed.” –Anthony Robbins
Is there anything you are not happy about in your life, career, health and money? Make a decision Right Now about how you are going to change it.
Don’t waste your life/year! Don’t settle for second best! Don’t go through life just existing, coping, or getting by!