I’m not the best gardener. In fact, I have to admit that most of my gardening exploits were fueled by my husband's joyful ambitions. My love for that guy has driven me out of the air conditioning and gotten dirt under my fingernails countless times. When we moved to the farm, we prepared a nice big backyard garden area, laid down some soaker hoses, and filled it with seeds. Moving on, three months later, harvesting vegetables made me feel like some sort of sweater itchy jungle explorer. I carefully waded through zucchinis, tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis and watermelon plants that had spread and grew so closely together that I couldn’t figure out where one plant ended and another began. It was an epic mess.
The next year, we planned differently. Or, maybe I should just say, we actually made a plan. Things were easier and definitely more enjoyable. We knew what we wanted and what was important to us.
Habit change is like this. We often begin with undefined and vague expectations such as: I want to drink less. I want to exercise more. I want to get more sleep. I want to eat healthier.
The problem with these vague goals is that they give space for our teenage/toddler-like brain to argue with us. “You said we were eating healthier. Chocolate has calcium and antioxidants. I should be able to eat as much of it as I want.” Confusion and the consequential fall in confidence come quickly when we aren’t clear on what we want. The Devil, my friends, is ready to take advantage of it. In order to set up some successful boundaries, I want you to take a moment and define your habit change.
I like the tried & true SMART goal-setting method. You can google this and find lots of information. Define a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. For example: For six weeks I will be only eating when I am physically hungry every day for 42 days because it will require me to stop emotional eating. I will finish by midnight of July 18.
The Lord is our gardener. He prunes and plants seeds and watches closely over our growth. You are not doing this alone. The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Isaiah 58:11, NIV
Journal prompt: Have you protected your habit change by setting a clear goal? Why or why not? Do you need more help in order to do this? Who could you ask? What do you need to pray about?
by Lora Armendariz
You Can Do It!
Do you want to fall out of love with a destructive habit? The first 42 episodes of this podcast are a resource for anyone who wants encouragement and information as they take a six week break from a habit in order to fall out of love with it.