5 Essential Steps to Change a Bad Habit

Feel like you keep making the same mistake over and over? Yeah, I know that feeling. It can be kind of discouraging, right?

You want to be better. To improve. To make a real difference in your family, your marriage, your life. But in spite of trying as hard as you can, when certain situations come up, it seems like you keep repeating the same mistakes.



Figuring out how to change a bad habit into good ones can be hard. In fact, it can seem impossible, especially if you’re like someone I know who checked her journal just to see, and said, “I made the same mistake last year! Look! And the year before! And the year before that!”

Discouragement, disappointment, despair. They all seem to come in. And you might even start asking the question, why bother?

I’ll tell you why: because you are meant for so much more!

So if you’re ready to see real change, the wait is over, my friend! The following steps will help you make change that truly lasts!

1. Remember Who You Are

You are a child of God with a divine destiny. This is perhaps the most important thing you can do. Because when you remember that God created you with the purpose of becoming like Him, you can take courage and know that becoming a better person and changing old habits is not only possible, but it’s the plan!

God gave you the gifts, talents, and ability to accomplish your personal mission in this life. And that means you don’t stay the same person—you are gifted with the ability to change, grow, develop, and improve. Your quest is to figure out how to do that.

2. Remember that the Savior’s Grace Is for YOU!!!

He came to the earth not to belittle and deride, but to elevate and provide. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). God’s plan for you is not failure, but SUCCESS!!!!

So not only do you have the capacity for change, but you also have access to the greatest source of power and change and good in the entire universe! Access that power. “Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (D&C 88:63).

3. Realize that Someone Wants You to Fail

And it’s not God. He WANTS you to succeed. But you have an adversary out there who’s working overtime against you. There’s a reason it’s not easy to change tough habits. Some of that is because of the human condition. But some of it is because there’s a force striving to defeat you.

Recognizing that helps you to see that beating yourself up about the same mistakes isn’t doing you any good, and it’s not going to help. It’s just going to feed into your adversary’s plan for your continued failure.

4. Accept That You Have Imperfections.

You are way, way too hard on yourself. In fact, if you’re willing to go there, I bet you’ll find that you struggle with perfectionism just a little bit.

I know I do.

You have this vision of this superhuman person you think you’re supposed to be. And why wouldn’t you? We know we’re supposed to be kind and compassionate. We’re supposed to strive after perfection. And we’re supposed to repent, which leads to lasting change.

So when things don’t work out the way we hope, we start beating up the person we hold most responsible: Ourselves.

But remember the plan. Remember you’re a child of God. Remember you’re not done growing yet. So isn’t it time you stopped beating yourself up for not being perfect?

The plan of salvation is about starting off with imperfections, and acquiring more along the way in spite of our best efforts, and repenting and changing and growing through life.

You aren’t perfect yet. So relax with the whole self-judgment attitude. “They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick” (Luke 5:31). We’re all on this road of life and growth. It’s okay to not yet be perfect. Only one person was.

5. Set Up a Plan for Growth, Learning, and Change

Okay, now that you have your mindset and personal vision headed in the right direction, it’s time to tackle the actual issue at hand: creating lasting change in behavior so you can stop making the same mistakes.

How do you do that?

Most of us have been taught the power of prayer and connecting with God; that strength and guidance come from studying scriptures and worshiping at church; and the power of service. And that if we strive to be humble, we can have marvelously happy marriages, be great parents, and have joy in our jobs.

Those things really, really make a difference.

But in practice, we typically need a little more guidance. Because you’re doing those things and still struggling.

The best way to improve change is to walk the Success Staircase. which will have you create your own Success Framework. It’s a gospel-oriented, personalized plan for success. In a simplified form, this is what it looks like:

The Success Staircase

  1. Set a vision of what you want to change. You’ve already thought on that above, so you’re already rocking it! Now write it down.
  2. Identify the obstacles to your new behavior or goal. What things trigger you into negative behavior? What’s going on when it happens—or doesn’t happen—the way you want? Pay attention to your behavior, the people involved, and your environment.
  3. Create a personalized Success Framework—focused on Jesus Christ and your eternal identity—that creates the behaviors you want to live and helps you control the personal, social, and environmental influences in your life. In other words, you intentionally address the obstacles to successful change and the triggers that you regularly encounter.
  4. Experiment. Try it out. Forgive yourself for little mistakes, and try again. Modify as you go. And keep trying!

Now, you might be thinking, “If I could just decide to change and everything would be better, I already would have!” Well, you’re right! It takes a lot more than willpower and self-control to create lasting change. I talk about that in How to Super Charge Your Willpower.

So, now that you have the basic roadmap, you’re ready to make that lasting change! Sign up for my Success Staircase and Framework pdf so you can build your own roadmap now!

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Essential Steps to Change Bad Habit


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