I already mentioned that it is best to work on one habit at a time, but I need to stress that point. We are all tempted to try to fix everything that is wrong overnight, but that is impossible.
Any bad habits you have were developed one at a time, and they will be broken one at a time. Focus is vital. It allows us to
direct all of our energies and power toward one thing, rather than divide them up between several things. Impatience urges
us to conquer them all, but success comes through faith and patience. Let’s say you have located three bad habits that you
seriously want to be free from. If each one takes only thirty days, then in ninety days you will be free from them all, or at least well on your way.
Remember, habits are formed through repetition, and they will be broken through repetition. If we repeatedly do a thing, it soon becomes part of who we are and
is done unconsciously, as a habit. If we repeatedly do not do a thing, then it will fade away, and at some point it will no longer be part of who we are.
People who are overweight need to focus on what they are eating. I have noticed that people who overeat tend to eat mindlessly. If they walk past a fellow employee’s desk and a dish of candy is sitting there for all to share, they will pop one in their mouth unconsciously, out of habit. I was overweight in my teenage and young adult years, and since then I have developed many good eating habits, one of which is to never eat anything without realizing what I am eating and approximately how many calories it has. I can eat anything if I
really want it, but I have to realize I ate it and take it into account with the rest of what I will eat that day.
Most people who are overweight eat many things throughout the day that they don’t even remember eating at all; then they are frustrated because they feel they just don’t eat enough to weigh as much as they do. If you have a problem in this area, then I suggest that you write down everything you
put into your mouth for about a week. That may give you a reality check.
It is easy for us to deceive ourselves unless we take the time to truly pay attention to what we are doing. If you want to break the habit of overeating, you will have to
focus on it for at least thirty days. I am sure you will find several things you can do without that will make a difference in
your weight. I know of a woman who simply gave up drinking a large glass of milk every night before she went to bed. Over a period of a year she lost fifteen pounds.
If you want to break the bad habit of disorganization, you will need to focus on keeping your surroundings neat and tidy.
Several times a day, purposely take a look at your space (your home, your desk, automobile, etc.). If it has gotten messy or
cluttered, take a few minutes to tidy it up.
Develop the habit of putting things back where they belong right away. A good
phrase to remember is “Put it away right away.” Priscilla was always losing her keys. This sounds small, but it led to other habits—like always being late for appointments. Why? Because she was searching for her keys when she should have already left her house. Finally she placed a decorative dish right by the front door and made it a point to put her keys in the dish as soon as she walked in the house. It was easy, and it solved two problems at once.
Keeping up with things regularly is much better than letting them pile up until they are overwhelming. Stick with this one
thing until you have victory and then you can go on to something else, while continuing to maintain the victory you
have already gained.
One thing that helps us focus is to keep something in front of us that reminds us of what we need to do or not do. You are
more likely to drink a lot of water if you keep water with you all the time. Write yourself notes and put them in places where you have to see them. If you are trying to break the bad habit of being late, keep a clock in front of you, or set an alarm to remind you when you need to start preparing to leave your home.
We can also focus by keeping certain things away from us. One woman who wanted to quit smoking removed all of
the ashtrays and lighters from her house. If you want to stop watching so much TV, take the remote out of the room. You
may get so tired of changing channels that you’ll decide to do something else. And even if you don’t, at least you’ll get some
exercise. Candy dishes have other uses than holding sweets; you can fill them with unshelled nuts or potpourri.
Finally, don’t be angry with yourself because you don’t just remember to do all the good things you should do. Don’t feel foolish if you have to leave a note for yourself to remind you to do something. It is better to do that than to not do what
you should be doing. Develop all the systems you need to help you focus on what you want to accomplish.