What comes to your mind when the word “addiction” is mentioned? Just as some of us think that all doctors must be male and all nurses must be female, that’s how some of us see the word addiction as related to negativity. I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that way especially when the term is related to dependency, craving, habit, weakness, compulsion, fixation and enslavement. In this context, addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop partaking in activities especially when it causes harm. These activities could be, but are not limited to, excessive gaming and gambling, excessive food consumption, social media, impulsive shopping, consuming illicit drugs and alcohol etc.
Shaping our everyday activities and even how we feel about ourselves, addictive habits can either make or break you. New Year’s resolutions are similar to trying to break a habit. So, the question is:
- Why do most New Year’s resolutions and attempts at breaking an addiction fail?
- Why do people partake in activities or consume substance that are harmful to their well-being without having the psychological and physical ability to stop them?
The truth is, some people unknowingly fall into these addictions without realizing the damage it does to them. Like Roman 6:16 tells us, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?” Most people start these habits with the intention that they won’t get hooked, and unfortunately, don’t realize how deep it eats into them until it is too late.
As we forge into the new year/decade, if you’ve been consumed by a habit that is harmful to you physically, emotionally or psychologically; it is time to say goodbye and take charge of your total wellbeing. Making the decision to change, and deciding what that change will look like, is a process that often takes a while, but in the process of forming a new positive habit, you are slowly breaking the bad one.
Here are a few strategies to break bad habits and form new positive ones:
- Consultation: consult a medical professional or licensed counsellor to assist you in breaking the addictions you crave, and help you cope with the physical and mental symptoms that occur after stopping such addictions.
- Positive thinking: fill your thoughts with positivity by reading the Bible, daily devotionals, listening to gospel music, audio and video messages of preachers of the God’s Word.
- Positive behavior: engage in healthy or positive activities like regular exercise, attending church programs, enrolling in personal development courses, eating healthy, having good companions, joining responsible professional or social small groups etc. Remember, anything you do for more than 3 weeks becomes a habit.
- Love yourself: loving yourself is a big key in removing the chains your addiction or bad habits have locked you into. This is where a strong mind and strong love for yourself comes into play. When you are in that moment, ask yourself, “Will this really better me? I love myself too much to give into this habit that will only make me feel temporary pleasure, while putting me at a worse state for the future.” Love yourself enough to stop yourself from doing damage to your present and future.
- Reflect: take a review of past years and keep a log of what you typically spend your time doing. What takes the bulk of your time? What takes up most of your head/mind space? These questions will assist you in ascertaining what you’re addicted to and guide your actions towards creating a balance and surmounting negative addictions.
- Relationships: consciously make efforts to stay away from friends & people who could potentially drag you back to the habits you’re trying to change. Surround yourself with the right people who fuel your drive towards change and help you build a better lifestyle.
The year 2020 is going to be a great year. However, the greatness of 2020 depends on your daily habit and actions. Once you learn to live without your habit, you won’t feel the need for it in your life anymore. You are responsible for your actions and the consequences that comes along with them.
Take control of your body and your mind. You are in charge; you have finally unlocked the chains. You are free. You have to start somewhere. Get up and start today.
Written by Richard Agu