A friend of mine, who is an alcoholic, offended another friend during a drinking bout. Later he apologized. When the alcoholic said “I am sorry,” his friend replied, “You are a sorry specimen because you apologize, but you have no intention of actually changing.”
There is a word called repent, commonly used in religious context. It’s a good word. It is an active apology when in genuine sorrow you ‘turn away’ from your wrong-doing and turn towards God seeking forgiveness and love. Implied is dual components of ‘sorrow with sincere intent of not doing it again’, and becoming the opposite of your previous behavior.
The best part about repenting is the love and forgiveness of God—but it’s also a good two-step formula for change!
You don’t just stop something—you start something else in its place. Create a void, then fill the void with something new.
• Don’t just ‘quit smoking’, repent: turn away from smoking, and turn towards being ‘someone who is healthy’.
• Don’t just ‘quit overeating’, repent: turn away from overeating and turn towards being ‘someone who is an athlete’.
When you quit something, you leave a void. Fill that void with something new—stop the old behavior, initiate a new one.