“In reading the lives of great men, I found that the first victory they won over themselves…, self-discipline with all of them came first” (Harry S. Truman). We all have a cognitive dissonance, whereas we want to change, know what we are doing is bad for us, yet we do it anyway. Temptation and instant gratification are powerful distractions getting in the way of achieving our aims. Why waste precious life unfulfilled, distant, and numb, when abundant joy is to be found and lived?
Try being credible to one’s self through positive consistency in thoughts, behaviors, words, and environmental standards. Be purposeful about who to associate with, guarding this area of life dearly. Trusting yourself is imperative toward forming and maintaining good habits. We reap and sow accordingly. Don’t focus on the price of something, but the value instead. This entails keeping high standards toward fruitful relationships, priorities, values, and investments, much more so than stuff. Keep in mind there is almost always a sacrificial tradeoff regarding what we spend our finite time doing. Please choose wisely.
How likely or unlikely are you to you swap a bad habit for a good habit in the next month? Stop saying “I can’t… (fill in the blank), stop smoking” because that is linking your identity with that deadly ritual and preventing victory over the long term. Giving something bad or of lesser value for something good, great, exceptional, lifesaving and invaluable is a deal worth creating and doing. Best of all, there is enormous upside with minimal if any downside, while becoming a winner. Never short change yourself by sacrificing a thing now, for a much worthier and greater purpose that reaps impressive returns and results later.
”Make haste slowly. Haste makes waste” (Benjamin Franklin). Proper body mechanics are crucial toward preventing injury and maintaining life-long healthy exercise routines. Prior to initiating an exercise program, obtain clearance from your medical provider regarding how intense you should work out based on recent physical fitness experience and any previous or current medical conditions.
Furthermore, to mitigate the amount of time directed toward sedentary living, such as television watching, a person may take the batteries out of the controller and place them in a faraway place or on a high shelf. It will take conscious effort and willpower to put the batteries back in. One can even place the television power cable in a distant location to further divert television watching and promote a healthier routine. More radical approaches would be to get rid of the television, cable or subscriptions all together. Help yourself make life easier by making poor habits more inaccessible and difficult to do, while making good habits easier and more accessible. Go to bed in your workout gear or have fitness items next to the bed to minimize excuses for not exercising.
Remember, it’s much easier avoiding temptation or not acquiring the taste than it is trying to beat temptation or eradicate an acquired taste. Let’s ponder this truth while parenting or role modeling for kids and people all around us. Poor habits acquired incrementally over time creep in surreptitiously, catching us off guard. We may wonder how divorce, job loss, poor health, or an undesirable event occurred, until radically honest deep self-reflection reveals truths of neglect and mismanaged priorities. Manage yourself well—nobody will do it for you. Self-love what you owe yourself—nothing less.
“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8: 36 NLT). Moreover, harmful effects can ensue due to excessive gambling, extreme shopping, gluttonous eating, pornography, smoking, mind-numbing alcohol intoxication, and illicit drug use. Several poor behaviors mentioned above have ruined countless marriages, relationships, and even ended in fatality. Do you frivolously love and yield to bad habits more than you enjoy living in victorious freedom by loving and caring for your own mind, body, spirit, and soul? Let’s not stoop down to a level below our absolute best.
Get out of Loserville by running in the opposite direction away from bad influences. For heaven’s sake, stop making excuses and blaming others, which only hinders potential progress. Reasoning with logical rationale will not help us acquire our dreams and unleash greatness within. Real problems, such as the price of gas, cost of food, taxes, not being lent money, etcetera, are still excuses. Ask yourself, “Why am I not where I desire to be in life?” To remain blunt, the only accurate answer is, you. Remember, when we point a finger at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at us. Don’t fall victim to foolish mentality by being average or mediocre when you can become great.
“All things are difficult before they are easy” (Thomas Fuller). We become more fulfilled the sooner we recognize and accept the harmful self-inflicting problems we create within ourselves, while deciding to replace old destructive ways with positive forward moving and life-altering strategies. Paths toward healing manifest after recognizing a problem, accepting or owning the cause, and forgiving ourselves and others for partaking in immoral behaviors. We are ultimately accountable and responsible for where we are in life, period.
People can save their own lives by forming and implementing life-transforming habits each day. Their positive example has the power of sustaining grace to help save many lives as well, even without them knowing. Physical activity is an excellent method that helps replace and break bad habits, in turn, feeling energized, focused, and being in control again while creating a calm, cool, and collected peak mental state.
Exercise can release endogenous endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin, thus producing natural peak mental states of feeling phenomenal. Illicit drugs and deadly foods containing cosmic amounts of salt, sugar, and saturated fats are not necessary to get an unsustainable fleeting high, which may lead toward requiring more of an unhealthy stimulus to obtain similar effects. The problem with poor habits, such as eating excessively, gambling, smoking, extreme shopping beyond one’s means, or illicit drug use is that they all release dopamine that binds to dopanergic receptors, thus giving a temporary state of feeling good. That brief state leads to more consumption or possibly looking for other harmful and unhealthy ways to achieve those short-lived feelings.
“Who is strong? He that can conquer his bad habits. Each year one vicious habit rooted out, in time might make the worst man good throughout” (Benjamin Franklin). It’s not likely long-term, or healthy, to keep personal and professional lives separate. Eventually, the inconsistency will show up, resulting in ill health or failed compromise. People can turn from crime, becoming productive law-abiding citizens. Every moment of each new day, we all have the power, opportunity, and privilege to choose good over evil. Use the law of replacing bad habits with good habits. Self-restraint only takes one so far, therefore make and place healthy habits on autopilot. Triumphant victory belongs to you and me!