Beads of Joy 01-23-10
Habit is Overcome By Habit
©2010 James Dacey, Jr. SFO
How does one deal with bad habits? Some habits are indeed really bad. Some are bad for our health, some are bad for the health of those around us. Some bad habits generate sin in our lives every single time we get caught up in the loop of them. Whether it be pride, selfishness, impurity, slander, all of which usually includes presumption (meaning that we'll sin now, and know we'll be forgiven later). That is a vicious sin in and of itself that one can easily fall into. How do we finally rid ourselves of a habit that just never seems to go away? Now this is going to sound to simple, but honestly it does work, I have done this. Replace an old habit that you don't want in your life and replace it with one you do want.
OK here's the blueprint that I have used to replace a habit I no longer wanted with one that I not only preferred but was also pleasing to God. For starters write out both habits, the current one needs to be written out with your sincere criticism against it condemning it, bring it into the light. Even endless hours of watching TV isn't a good habit. Now with your new habit, the one you'd prefer a habit, you need to do this (I suggest this highly, it empowers you). You need to do some research, exciting convincing research with a bunch of notes on how you can implement this habit into your life. Here's an example of a new habit I incorporated into my life many years ago: Personal Bible Study. Let's say you want to replace your old habit of this. Get yourself all wound up in looking at the varieties you have, you can do OT studies, NT, gospel, apostles, topical studies and you can write on the overall tone of the scripture, or do poetry reflections. The ideas are limitless, creating so much excitement.
What I have found also is that in time if the habit becomes stale in anyway and you feel you may drift back into your old habit; just switch it up. In other words change the angle at which you maybe approaching your habit. If you were doing bible study and six months down the road the topical study was getting stale, start by doing a chronological study of the gospels, or a study of miracles in the Old Testament and the New Testament, same with the parables, you know they are also in the Old Testament. My technique through the past three years is variety. I mix it up all the time, but you my new habit of bible study included a habit of writing everyday. I can't get bored, I am addicted now, I find such an incredible peace and an overwhelming overflow of joy every time I dig myself into a study.
So can the new habit that replaced the old one become a bad habit? LOL I say that common sense tells you, yes it can. A dear friend and my Spiritual Director once told me, "Balance is important in my Christian walk." So to that I say if your new habit becomes an addiction that has you neglecting family, work, hygiene (lol), than this habit even if it's good, isn't good. The mix recommended to me was to include family time (share your gifts), volunteer time (give away your gifts), attend daily Mass (rejuvenate your gifts), this is indeed a nice moderate mix of variety through ones life. I sure hope this was helpful.
It takes 22 days of repetition to re-establish a new habit.
Your brother in Christ Jesus & His Most Blessed Mother,
Jim (The Rosary Man) Dacey Jr SFO