Groups•Healing • 6 minutes to read
Morality is not a ritualistic obedience to a code of behavior imposed by an external authority. It is rather a healthy habit pattern that you have consciously and voluntarily chosen to impose upon yourself because you recognize its superiority to your present behavior.Henepola Gunaratana
Finally, 2021 is here! It could not have come soon enough, right? How many times did you find yourself saying, “Man, will 2020 just be done already?” I know I did many times, and as hard as 2020 was, we need to look at the positives that came out of it. It wasn’t all bad, yet it sure seemed like it. We need to ask ourselves what we learned that we carried over to this new year.
Now that 2021 is here and we are ready to start fresh, so many of us start implementing a New Year’s resolution. I don’t know about you, but I hate those. It should be called a “New Year’s let down.” How many of you have said you were going to work out every day, eat better, spend less, and so on and so on, to only fail by February? Now, I know it’s not everyone. A lot of people are successful and keep their resolutions going. Me, on the other hand, not so much.
When asked to write this blog on healthy habits, I said, “Sure, no problem.” But then I started thinking, What did I get myself into? It was a good reminder that this is as much for me, as it is for anyone else. So here we go!
The first thing we need to know is: what does health look like? For many of us, we may not be sure. And, when it comes to making changes, we often have a lot of questions: where do I start? Who will help me? How will I know when I’m done? And so many more.
Over the past 25 years of being involved with Pure Desire Ministries, I wanted to share a few healthy habits that have worked for me.
1. Set A Goal
Now if you have heard my story before, this will sound familiar. When I first started working with Pure Desire, I had one goal in mind: I wanted to help one person who was struggling and help one child from an abusive environment. I wanted to help them find healing and freedom. And I have done this. I have worked with thousands of men all over the world. Men who struggle with very unhealthy patterns in their life: thoughts of harming others or harming themselves—you name it, I’ve probably heard it.
When my life was crumbling to the ground, 25 years ago, I made a decision to get healthy. To do whatever I could, regardless of how hard it was going to be. And part of my journey included some legal consequences. Hard? Oh, yeah! But it was also the driving force motivating me to be better; and not just be better, do better. Before all this, I never knew what a healthy habit was.
So setting healthy habit goals is not a quick fix. It is a process that takes time. It takes work, commitment, accountability, coaching, and everything in between. It requires a shift in our thinking. It’s all about renewing our mind: changing the way we think and how we cope with things in our life.
2. Make A Plan
Making a plan is different from setting a goal. The plan is the blueprint we put together after we set a goal. Our plan can include the steps we are going to take to reach our goal, who will be involved, what materials do we need, when is this going to happen, and where? Our plan could include being involved in a group, seeing a counselor, going back to school, working with a health coach, to name a few.
Now, you may have noticed, I didn’t mention a timeline. Who says we need a timeline when setting healthy habit goals?
When my brother was playing for the Chicago Bears, during an interview, he said:
When setting goals, make them higher than you can ever reach. Then, go reach them.Pat Moore
What I love about this quote is that reaching our goals requires a plan of attack. Not only that, but why set a limit on how high we can go? Our initial plan may change or need to be adjusted a bit over time, but the end result—reaching our goal—doesn’t change.
Let’s put this into perspective. You join a Pure Desire group and start out with a goal to get better: stop your unwanted behaviors, restore your family, and finally, for the first time in your life, you are experiencing a freedom you never thought possible! You get into counseling, start leading groups, and everything in between. So why stop there?
How can we take our new healthy habit goals and keep going? This leads to the final point.
3. Take Action
So now that you have a goal in mind and have a plan of attack, what now? It’s time to take action. It’s time to put your goal and plan in motion. The first part of this includes identifying who you’re going to be accountable to; who are you going to have in your corner? You surely can’t do this on your own. None of us can. It takes a team to really experience what true health looks like. And, healthy habits do not form over night. It takes time and intention.
Last year was an action year for me, especially the last six weeks of 2020. I have been involved with Pure Desire for so long and have experienced tremendous growth and freedom, all the while still struggling with a food addiction. I knew the steps to take but wasn’t strong enough to take the first step. I started on a new path toward a healthy body in July 2020; and since then, I’ ve lost 110 pounds. But it didn’t happen on my own. It took a team of people to support and encourage me. Just like I’ve experienced in groups over the years! For so long, I have struggled with many addictions in my life and have been knocking them down one by one.
An action requires one thing: taking the first step! For many of us, it’s the hardest step we will ever take. Without this first step, we are stuck—nothing propelling us forward.
In December 2020, I completely blew out my knee and had major surgery to repair the damage. Now, I am in recovery; again, learning to take the first painful step toward becoming more physically healthy. An important step I’ve learned along the way is that it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay that I am not strong enough right now and need to let others help me to achieve my new healthy habit goals.
In everything we do, it takes a similar process: identifying a goal, creating a plan, taking action, and doing all of this with our support team. We don’t need to go through life or any circumstance alone. One of the most important aspects of life is learning how to trust others in our pain. Reaching out and asking for help is a great way to build connection and support with all our new healthy habit goals for 2021.
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.Philippians 4:13 ESV