Breaking unhealthy habits can be a challenging task, but it is an important step towards living a healthier and happier life. From a Christian standpoint, breaking unhealthy habits can be approached with a combination of spiritual guidance and practical strategies. As believers, we are called to honour our bodies and live in a way that glorifies God. In this article, we will explore how to break unhealthy habits through the lens of Christian principles, realising that God wants us to do this in partnership with His Holy Spirit and not by our own willpower.

Identifying the habits that are harmful can be an important first step in breaking any habit. Take some time to reflect on your daily routines and behaviours and pinpoint the specific habit you want to change. By being aware of the habit, you can better understand its triggers and develop strategies to overcome it. Awareness can come in a variety of ways. We may sense something in our spirit or a caring friend may point something out to us. A helpful way of viewing this stage is if you have ever seen a recording of yourself. This is usually an uncomfortable process for many of us as we realise that we might use a certain phrase repeatedly or perform an action again and again. 

Surrendering to God’s will is another vital step in breaking unhealthy habits. We need to surrender our desires and weaknesses to Him, asking for His guidance and strength to overcome. Our desires of the flesh will want to do things that bring instant gratification and so, like so much of our Christian walk with God, surrendering to His will is a key part. Remember Jesus’s words of “not my will but yours” when faced with the prospect of being crucified.

The Bible is a rich source of wisdom and guidance for us. Spending time in prayer and studying the Scriptures to gain insights on how to overcome your specific unhealthy habit is a worthwhile habit to adopt. Seek passages that address self-control, discipline, and the importance of honouring the body as a temple of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus was taken into the wilderness and then tempted by the Devil, His form of attack was always to quote scripture and began by saying “it is written!”

Prayer is a powerful tool in breaking unhealthy habits. Asking God for strength, self-control, and wisdom as you embark on this journey and praying daily for His guidance and for His grace to overcome temptations that may arise along the way is another vital tool in our armoury. Jesus often got up early and went to pray to His father and this must be a template for our lives too.

Breaking an unhealthy habit becomes easier when you replace it with a godly habit. Identify positive behaviours or activities that align with your faith and incorporate them into your daily routine. For example, if you struggle with overeating, replace unhealthy snacks with prayer or reading the Bible during times of cravings. This is easier said than done and so in the Christian community, accountability and support are vital. Find a trusted friend, mentor, or accountability partner who can walk alongside you in this journey. Share your struggles, victories, and prayer requests with them. They can provide encouragement, hold you accountable, and offer guidance when needed. Remember that with our trusted inner circle of friends, vulnerability and asking for help is a sign of strength and not weakness.

Unhealthy habits are often rooted in emotional or spiritual wounds. Seek healing and restoration in Christ by addressing the underlying issues that contribute to the habit. Consider seeking counselling or joining support groups that align with your Christian beliefs to find healing and support. Your church might run such courses or the pastoral care team, if you have one, should be able to signpost you to helpful resources.

Breaking an unhealthy habit is a process that requires patience and trust in God’s timing. Understand that change may not happen overnight, but have faith that God is working in you. Trust that He will provide the strength and perseverance needed to overcome the habit. There may be setbacks along the way, and that’s okay. Prepare yourself for potential setbacks and have a plan in place to overcome them. If you slip up and engage in the unhealthy habit, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, learn from the experience and get back on track. As a result of this, it is also very important to celebrate small victories. 

In conclusion, breaking unhealthy habits from a Christian standpoint involves surrendering to God’s will, seeking His wisdom, praying for strength, renewing your mind, finding accountability and support and trusting in God’s timing. By aligning our actions with our faith, and by relying on the help and guidance of The Holy Spirit, we can overcome unhealthy habits and live the life that God has planned for us.


Simon Gee-Staff Chaplain