How God Helped Me Kick My Worst Habit

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new years resolutions

It’s January 8th, and I bet your New Years Resolution is front of mind.

Whether you’re celebrating your progress so far, or you’re facing temptation that is making it tough to stick with it, I think we can all agree: It’s not easy. Tough is more like it!

My big resolution, is to do a minimum of three months of the paleo & low-carb lifestyle, with NO cheating. (A big departure from the past, when I’ve allowed exceptions for birthday cake, restaurant outings every few weeks, or those special comfort foods my Mom makes.)

See, I’m hoping to heal my chronic IBS and acid reflux, with diligence and lots of prayer.

I’m feeling good about it so far: I’m psyched to have found a scrumptious brand of pork rinds to snack on! Who needs potato chips, anyway? But, it’s going to take a lot more than one week of this low-carbing, to see improvements in my digestive system and overall health. I want results, like, yesterday! And I have to be patient, and not quit.

Can you relate?

Maybe you’ve tried to kick this same bad habit, lose the same weight, or start the same new habit, umpteen dozen times. And there’s always lack of progress, falling off the wagon, things that derail your plans…maybe you don’t even quite understand what has sabotaged your efforts in the past. And then you gave up, only to try again later (because the problem is still there, right?).

My Worst Habit

Prior to last August (2017), midnight snacking was my downfall. I’m 33, and I’ve been pigging out on food in the middle of the night since I was a teenager. I remember in college, my dorm microfridge was right next to my bed, and you bet I ate plenty of middle-of-the-night Oreos and milk. Didn’t see much wrong with it back then, and over the years, it only got worse.

As you might imagine, this resulted in many problems! (Chocolate-smeared sheets, clumsy spilled milk, bellyaches, weight gain, spending more money on food, etc. etc.) While in the throes of the habit, I felt like I had no willpower: that part of my brain that generally makes smart food choices in the daytime, had checked out completely. From a God view, it was sinful gluttony.

I tried harder and harder to quit, using many different tactics, and had varying degrees of success and failure. The longest I’d ever gone without midnight snacking was three months. Most of the time, it was a few nights without, and then right back into the habit.

Every time, I’d pray for God to help me, but still couldn’t kick the habit. Then, last August (2017), He gave me the solution that I needed! Cue the choir! 🎵 Hallelujah, Praise the Lord 🎶

Ever since then, I’ve felt like I really needed to share this with you, so you too can be freed from that self-sabatoging habit (or lack of good habit) you can’t seem to shake.

How I Quit Midnight Snacking

It still feels like a miracle, that for the past FIVE months, I’ve been free of midnight snacking. Sure, there have been struggles, and I have to keep tight rein on myself, lest I slip backwards, but it sure does feel good to be rid of that terrible habit. I have no doubt that it was Satan’s doing to turn eating into a pit of over-indulgence, which often led to other selfish behavior. Good riddance, I say!

Anyway, here the the four key components that, when combined, have made it possible for me to stop the gluttony:

  1. Detailed Plan: Put all the specs in writing! Choose your time frame, limitations, allowances, and intentions for the long-term. In a moment of crazy ambition, I figured I should just lock myself into a whole year of not indulging at night. I think that has worked so much better than just saying “I want to quit this habit forever” and then falling off the wagon after only a week.
  2. Consequences: There must be punishment! Something to hang over your head, preferably doled out by someone you trust. To up my accountability, I shared my plan with my Mom. And you may laugh at this, but I told her if I fall off the wagon, she has my full permission to take away all of my chocolate stash for two weeks. I love my dark chocolate, so that was a big incentive to stick with the plan, especially in the beginning.
  3. Fail-safe: What will you do, if XYZ happens? Are there ways around the temptation, or will you need to make certain exceptions? This has been a huge factor to my continued success, as opposed to my previous attempts. Part of my problem all along, was that I still needed to eat on rare occasions, like when I was genuinely hungry and/or couldn’t sleep. Then, I’d slip right back into the habit, eating way more than necessary. So, for this year-long plan, I chose to make almonds my emergency food. If I truly need it, I can eat some almond butter, wash it down with some almond milk, but I can’t eat anything else. For me, almonds alone are not much fun to eat by themselves, so that takes the indulgence factor out of it. As a bonus, they’re equal parts protein+carbs, so it stabilizes my blood sugar and seems to help me go back to sleep.
  4. Rewards: There has to be a party! To celebrate the milestones, I set monthly and quarterly rewards. For example, I love Alter Eco truffles, but they’re very pricey, so on the 9th day of each month (as I started the plan August 9th, 2017), I treat myself to a bag of those truffles (and I try to make them last all month). It’s a fun way to rejoice, as I continue to stick with the plan.

So, if you’re working on that resolution for the Nth time, like I was, and wondering how you can possibly make it stick this time…

Here it is, in a nutshell: Create a PLAN, with detailed rules and specs, even a specific time frame. Add consequences for failure (accountability is huge, tell someone you trust!), and rewards for success. Consider where you’re likely to run into trouble, and set up at least one fail-safe. And, PRAY about it! Keep asking God for help, and have faith that He will give you the solution you desire, in His perfect timing.

⭐️ What habit or change do you want to conquer in 2018? Share your story in the comments.

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