Building good habits


By Rev. Fr. Tristan Jasper D. Laforteza

What do you like to do often? What do you routinely do, sometimes even without thought?

These are what you call habits. Habits can be good, one’s that help you become a good person, but they can also be bad and can lead to your downfall. They can promote your success or bring you to the other end of the spectrum. For you to succeed though, you must develop good habits and learn to keep them. Find a way to stop doing the bad habits so that you can reach your full potential and fulfill your life’s purpose.

Let me tell you a story about 3 friends, all of them had bad habits, Sammie was a nail biter, Gary was a borderline alcoholic and Rick was a coffee addict, all of them decided to kick their bad habits. Sammie was a go-getter, and when she decides something, she just goes ahead and does it. So when she decided to stop biting her nails, almost immediately she did! Whenever she would find herself starting to do the bad habit she was quick to stop herself and she was able to stop doing it. Gary on the other hand, needs time to stop. After ending up in the emergency room because of his drinking, he endeavored to stop. He gradually decreased his intake of alcohol, a bottle or two less than what he usually consumed. He drank less and less until eventually you’ll see him in a party with only an orange juice in his hand. It took him two years to complete the transition, but he was able to kick his drinking habit. Now comes Rick, he loves his coffee, but he realized that he was beginning to get addicted to it. He cannot work without it. He was used to it, his body was even looking for the caffeine fix. When he realized this, he endeavored to stop drinking coffee. But he knew, he cannot go cold turkey. He would just fail. So, what he did was he shifted to decaf, then after a week, he moved to five days decaf, two days herbal tea. Each week he would add another day with the tea instead of the coffee, and finally he was able to switch completely to tea. Okay, what’s the moral of the story? Quitting a bad habit is not as simple as some people may say. What’s important is knowing yourself and allowing yourself to find the right way to quit the habit. You may be a Sammie, who can easily quit or you can be a Gary who needs time before being able to quit the habit or you can be a Rick who needs a replacement before you can stop. Different habits and different kinds of people require different strategies. Essentially you need to be aware of the type of person you are and the awareness that if one strategy doesn’t work, you can always try the next one. So, what bad habit do you need to beak? (

We talked about breaking bad habits. Now, let’s go into the good stuff. Let’s talk about developing habits for success. Now that you’ve started kicking that bad habit, let’s find some habits you can develop so that you can go a step further towards your success.

Developing these habits will help you achieve your best self yet.

Step #1: FIND A PURPOSE AND WORK HARD TO ACHIEVE THEM. It is very important for you to find a purpose in your life. What is your goal? What do you want to achieve? You can set small achievable goals and make the best effort to reach them. Don’t just find your purpose though, make an effort to achieve them. Create a routine in your life that you can follow and do them. A good start will be to wake up at the same time each morning regardless of the day, yes, even on weekends. It can also help if you sleep at the same time each night as well. This will help your body to be in tune, you’ll find that when you do this, you don’t start your day sluggish because your body is used to waking up at that time, you will realize that you have more energy to get through the day. Keep in mind that “the purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5). It is our duty to find out God’s purpose for our life. What do you want to achieve? What is your purpose in life, is it aligned with what God wants for you?

Step #2: TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. This may seem like a cliché but it is most certainly true regardless of your situation. More often than not, we tend to neglect ourselves and think that we don’t matter. In the Gospels, Jesus said: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). The Lord asks us to rest, make time to take care of ourselves. Exercise, eat healthy, those are just some of the stuff you can do. Smile!

Sometimes just smiling can relieve you of your stress. Smiling can make you feel happier, so don’t be shy. Go ahead and smile. If you take care of yourself and you are “healthy” then you will have more strength to do your work and you will be able to take care of your family even better. Don’t leave yourself behind. Let me ask you this, do you often neglect yourself?

Step #3: BE READY TO LEARN AND RE-LEARN. We have talked about this; you should be always ready to learn and re-learn. Opening yourself up to new knowledge, new experiences and new opportunities can give us the push we need to find our success. Learn to listen to the opinion of others, you might find that their opinion holds value as well.

Aside from being open to new knowledge, we should also know how to “re-learn” and be open to fail. We should realize that failure is not the end. It only means that we need to start again and be better next time. Learn from experience and try again. Jeremiah 8:4 says, “You shall say to them, thus says the LORD: When men fall, do they not rise again? If one turns away, does he not return?” So, when you fall, get up and try again. So when was the last time you failed? What did you do, did you give up or did you try again?

In the end, habits are important. If your habits are not good for you then you should endeavor to change or remove them from your life. Develop or re-develop good habits to replace the bad ones. If you want to reach your full potential and achieve your great success then it is important to develop habits that will help us do just exactly that. So what habits do you need to change? What do you need to develop?