How do you get rid of a bad habit? What changes do you make? Do you address the desire you have for your addiction or create a list of “quitting” rules to follow? We can set a plan for ourselves that looks good on paper, but if we still harbor those desires in our hearts, are we headed for danger?

Can habits be broken?

If we believe that we cannot break a habit, we will stay stuck, and we will give up trying to quit. Making a plan to stop but not looking at the desire we have for the habit will also set us up to fail.

The truth is, the desire for what we are addicted to is still in our hearts, and if we ignore this fact, a simple trigger will keep us stuck.

I don’t know what habit you struggle with, but harboring desire in my heart is what kept me in my smoking habit for forty-six years. It did not matter how many plans to quit I set for myself.

Until I dealt with how much I enjoyed smoking, I was unable to quit.

 So, what is the best way to get rid of these desires?

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide a way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Following the rules that I had set for myself was not enough. When we fail to control our desires, they will sit dormant in our hearts, waiting for that one trigger to bring it out again.

My breakthrough was when I realized that only God had the power to control this in me, but I had to hand over the desire to Him. 

How to break a bad habit

As I took the steps needed to give up smoking, I first had to admit that I had no desire to quit. Then I decided to give it over to the only one who had the power to take the habit from me.

But I had to not only give my habit over to God. I had to leave it with Him. I gave it over and over again before I finally left it there.

As we learn to turn our desires over to God, we can cling to God’s promise that He is faithful and will provide a way of escape in our temptations to hang on to our desires.

I have learned that trusting God is the only way I can break a habit for good.