Some of you may be familiar with the humorous video with Bob Newhart, “Stop it.” Here is the link if you wish to view it. Stop It

I must admit it’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. If you need a little laughter in your life today, this is your chance.

Just two words—STOP IT. At first glance it seems overly simplistic, unrealistic and unsympathetic regarding  any behavior, attitude or mind-set you may want to see changed. We are all creatures of habit—good and bad. 

I’ll be the first one to admit that I like habits and routines, structures and systems to keep me focused and on track in my life, relationships and work. But when I slip into bad habits my penchant for routines and structure can keep me captive and it’s not easy for me to change.

As I coach leaders, I am hearing over and over, I need to break some bad habits and build some new ones. I am in the habit of_______ fill in the blank, and it’s hurting me, not helping me. These bad habits that you want to change could be a number of things:

How you use your time

When you go to bed or get up

What you eat

What you say

Here are some things You might being telling yourself and others:

I have the bad habit of wasting a lot of time on unimportant things

I have the bad habit of staying up too late and not getting up early enough

I have the bad habit of eating too much sugar

I have the bad habit of not thinking before I respond

I have the bad habit of speaking too much when I should be listening and asking questions

As I read through the New Testament I see STOP IT/START IT over and over. 

Stop doing_______ start doing_______. 

You see example after example of this in the Sermon on the Mount. You’ve heard it said…but I say to you. Stop thinking the old way and start thinking in a new way. Stop behaving the old way and start behaving a new way.

In his church letters Paul often talks about stopping one kind of behavior and starting another, based on who we are in Christ and who he is in us. Read Colossians 3 as an example and note this pattern. 

Here’s  the deal. We need three things to break a bad habit and build a good one:

1. Christ

Jesus made it clear in John 15 that without Him we could do nothing of any lasting value. The essence of the Christian experience is having Jesus in us and living through us by the power of the Holy Spirit. Forget trying to change on your own!

2. Consistency

The only way I know how to break a bad habit I don’t want and build a good habit I do want is to stay consistent with it over a long period of time. It was Charles Swindoll who said that the problem with life is that it’s so daily. I have come to believe that being consistent with something for a long period of time is most everyone’s biggest battle. I’ve read that it takes 7 weeks of consistency to build a new habit.

3. Community

In addition to depending on Jesus and by His grace and power being consistent,  I need some people around me who will keep encouraging me and holding me accountable in the breaking and building process. This is why AAA and Weight Watchers  have a high degree of success. It’s a team/group process not a Lone Ranger sort of deal. 

Fellow leader, what bad habit (be specific)  have you fallen into and what good habit do you want to replace it with? Lean into Jesus, be consistent and ask a few friends to walk with you in this. Let Him lead you and empower you as you seek to honor Him in your life, family and work.