Yesterday, I popped open the top of a container of cashews, as I do many times a day, when I want to have something tasty in my mouth....a compulsion. I stopped, and put the lid back on quickly.
"No," I told myself. "This is not really what I want right now. I really want to overcome this habit of trying to fulfill my boredom, or anxiety with snacks."
I walked away. I still fought the compulsion all day long and practiced stopping all day long. I also realized that it was affecting my spiritual walk. Whatever I was anxious about could not be fixed with food. I needed the habit of emotionally connecting to God, and giving HIM my anxieties. Why wouldn't I want the one who holds me together, to listen compassionately.
My habits may seem minor compared to things like drugs, porn, or smoking, etc. I could easily have been pulled into any of these at any point in my life. They are addictions that I hear cannot be broken except by the power of God. It is all the same compulsive "root" that is in every one of us.
This morning, I heard a Ted Talk (click for link) on my way to the Y. It was about breaking bad habits. There was one sentence that Mel Robbins said that stuck. She said that when you are trying break bad habits "you are never going to feel like it". Our bodies and minds don't cooperate when the alarm clock goes off, or when it is time to do exercises, or clean up the kitchen in a timely manner, or even to keep my mouth shut when I know I should be quiet. I am pondering that. We can't follow our own desires all the time.
Personally, I already have established good habits, like swimming. When I do it, I feel good. I like the good feeling. So I keep doing it. Then there is the "cashew habit" and other things like it. Staying up too late is another wearisome habit. I just don't want to go to bed. I put an alarm on my clock that goes off at 11:15 every night that reminds me to go to sleep. That at least lets me know if I am following the good habit of plenty of sleep. If I don't, I am not developing self-discipline ands, bodily, lacking sleep.
Habits that compel me constantly cannot have dominion over me. That is my aim.