How Bad Choices Create Bad Habits
If you follow Tony Evans, maybe you’ve heard his take on “A Messed Up Nation”. Evans’ explanation really boils down to the choices we make in life. And bad choices can and usually do create bad habits. In Evans’ estimation, the first bad choice would be a decision to not follow God. However, good or better choices can and usually do lead to good or better habits. Let’s see how this thinking plays out when applied to the food we eat.
This short video describes an experiment performed by Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit. Every day at a certain time, Duhigg craved a cookie. When he wanted to stop that habit, he studied what he was doing. Essentially, he asked 4 questions:
- Where Am I?
- What Time Is It?
- What’s My Emotional State? (stressed, anxious, bored, etc.)
- What Am I Doing?
By answering these questions, Duhigg was able to discern a pattern set off by a cue. In his case, the cue was time. Once he figured out the cue, he experimented with different choices. Each choice was evaluated for it’s satisfaction. In just a few days, Duhigg landed on the best choice – one that didn’t involve a cookie and also satisfied his craving. With steady discipline, the new choice became a new habit. Duhigg automatically made a better choice.
In the same way, we can analyze the driving force behind our food choices at certain times of the day, or even in high stress moments, just by asking ourselves the same 4 questions. As well, remember the past teaching on Neural Pathways.
Your Next Choice Matters
In her book, Made To Crave, Lisa TerKeurst quotes Dr. Floyd Chilton, physiologist and professor at Wake Forest:
- [Because]…”Willpower alone is not enough to bring this change; start by realizing that you cannot do this alone. If you are a person of faith, use that connection to help you change.”
Similarly, Ray Stedman, commenting on Colossians 2:20-23, explains:
- “If we are willing to obey God in the areas that He designates as harmful and dangerous, then we have the rest of life to enter into company with a Savior who loves us, and who guides and guards us in our walk with Him”.
We know bad choices can lead to bad habits. In the same way, better choices about our health and our lifestyle can lead to better habits. So take some time. Think about your next choice.
Break Bad Eating Habits For Good – Very Well Fit
Drop Pound Packing Habits – WedMD
A Scientific Guide To Habits – Legion Athletics (Audio)
Things That Can Ruin Your Faith – Ray Stedman (Audio)