Fr. Spencer’s Advice for Breaking a Bad Habit

Are you struggling with a bad habit? It could be anything from a serious addiction to a vice you’d like to overcome. We all have things we’d like to improve, but it’s not easy.

“We are in this time of Lent in which we remember the need to learn self-mastery, to grow in self-discipline,” said Fr. Matthew. He spoke about his brother’s journey to quit smoking, and shared some advice that we all can apply to our own vices.

“I remember my brother sharing with me this challenge that he experienced when he first decided to stop smoking. … He was just about to start a family and he was realizing how important it is for him to stop. Of course, he tried many times before that to stop smoking. He read all of the terrible things that will happen to you, he probably looked up pictures on the internet of what your lungs look like after years and decades of smoking,” explained Fr. Matthew.

But the facts and statistics weren’t enough. So what made the difference?

Change your viewpoint

“He needed a better motivation than the downsides and the negativity of smoking. So what he did was he started to discover the benefits of stopping smoking,” said Fr. Matthew.

While negative reinforcement, or the consequences of continuing the habit, was not motivation enough for him to stop, positive reinforcement did the trick. “It was that positive motivation that helped my brother to say, yeah, this is what I gotta do and this is now the reason to do it. So that I can live longer for my children, so that I can be more engaged physically and athletically, so that I can be healthier.”

That’s not to say that the process was easy—temptation remained and he had to work hard to give up his bad habit and not look back. But when he realized everything he had to gain from removing this habit from his life, he found the determination he needed to stick with it.

How could you apply this simple tip to your own life? Consider what great things are in store for you when you break a bad habit and grow closer to Christ.

Get more advice on breaking bad habits and growing in good ones:

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Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.