Changing Existing Habits

Recap: Basil Ganglia, Habit Loop, Renewing our Minds, Defining Rewards and Cues

3 Obstacles to Change

1.       Lack of Awareness

Myth - Change happens through will power.  Instead, we see this model:

White knuckle change à abstinence/cold turkey à relapse

This is also known as Sin, Repent, RepeatOur first problem is a lack of awareness; we don’t know why we engage in the habit.

2.       Lack of Process

Myth - Long term goals will motivate me to change.  Remember, we are short-sighted creatures.  Our second problem is lack of process; we don’t know how to change.

3.      Lack of Support

Myth – hitting rock bottom will change me/others.  While this can be helpful, but without skills, people and belief, I still won’t change.  Our third problem is a lack of support; we cannot make change stick without God and people.

4 Solutions to the 3 Obstacles

1.       Awareness Training

Ephesians 5:8-13.  We must engage in awareness training.  Don’t begin with the goal of stopping the habit; begin by making a list of your cues (triggers) and rewards.  Dig below the surface level answers for more significant and transferable cues/rewards.  This may be a painful process.  Do you know what your habit exists to solve?

2.      Process - Habit Replacement

Luke 11:24-26.  We cannot simply stop doing a behavior; this leads to relapse.  Change routine, keep the same cue and reward.  Craving will work with you rather than against you.

3.       Belief (Support)

Mark 11:22-26.  Secular habit replacement therapy tends to be less effective; in times of extreme stress, we revert to prior habits and behaviors unless we belief that God can change us. 

4.       Community (Support)

Acts 2:37-47.  When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur seems more real.  Profound change rarely happens alone. 

Conversation: Discussion Questions

1.       What is the habit you want to change?  Have you ever tried to change this habit before?  If so, why didn’t it work (in light of this material)?

2.      Which of the three obstacles have you most struggled with and why?

3.      Do you think you already understand your cue and reward for your habit?  If not, how will you go about making your observations and reflecting on your rewards?

4.      How does your faith in God and belief that he can change you affect your habit?

5.      Do you have a community (even just one other person) who is engaged in helping you change your habit?  Where can you find community for your specific habit?  NOTE – Talk to Jim Gates if you need help with this!