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Breaking our bad habits, developing positive ones

August 27, 2015 By Sulaiman Momodu

(beyondborders.column@gmail.com)

Let me begin this article by asking you: if you were walking along the streets and without any provocation a mad man or woman slapped you, what would you do? Will you start fighting the mad person or will you make the best use of your legs? Well, if your habit is to fight anybody who offends you, you will obviously fight the mad man and anybody seeing you in a brawl will conclude that two mad men are fighting.

Sequel to my last article: “Of knowledge, wisdom and our development”, my focus today is to take a look at our habits as individuals, families and a nation and how this can either make us peaceful and progressive, or how it can sabotage our marriages, careers, and visions and make us very depressed, angry, discouraged and unfulfilled.

Now, what is a habit? In brief, a habit is something you are used to doing. It is a regular tendency or practice; it is the way you think and do things sometimes either consciously or unconsciously. Habits start with the first act: the first cigarette, the first alcoholic drink, the first wrong sexual move, the first lie, the first theft and then more acts follow. Before you blame witches in your village and other people for your situation, please check your habits.

Researchers say about 90 per cent of what we do daily are governed by our habits and only 10 per cent are things we do consciously. History is replete with people who have met their tragic end or have fallen from fame to shame because of their habits. When I was growing up two of my favourite Bible stories were that of Samson and Joseph. Samson met his tragic end because of his way with women (read his encounter with Delilah). Joseph on the other hand preferred to go to prison than go to bed with his master’s wife (Potiphar’s wife).

You see, our vision as a nation won’t just become reality and at the same time our vision to have a peaceful marriage, a happy home and a successful career won’t happen if we have some bad habits.  Let me once again state that if you think you are successful in life because you have cars, houses and have acquired wealth through kleptomaniac tendencies,  the truth is that you are a failure – you have failed yourself, your family, your country and the future generations – you are a crook.

At the end of this article, it is my sincere hope that you will start identifying your bad habits and will make effort to develop positive ones that will ultimately make you a blessing to your family, your country and humanity.

If I may ask: what are some bad habits that we have as a nation that we really need to break from? Did you say corruption? Yes, corruption, which includes stealing. Another one is begging. What would you think of a man who has all the resources that should make his family very happy but who constantly goes cap in hand to other people’s homes begging even for food to feed his home? This is precisely the situation we find ourselves which means another bad habit we have as a nation is mismanagement and sometimes we do it with arrogance and blatant impunity.

Some days ago, Hannah Bockarie was gang-raped and killed with her mount stuffed with sand. There was outrage. Rest in peace, Hannah! The question is: what lessons do we learn from what happened to Hannah? While it is very easy for some people to blame and badmouth others for their problems, including the government, objectively speaking did Hannah’s family play their role that led the teenager to indulging in anti-social behaviour? The inconvenient truth is that most times we blame other people for our problems except ourselves. At that tender age, was Hannah supposed to be where she was? What message does her killing even send to us about those who raped and allegedly killed her?

Bad habits may not only affect your health but can even lead to your demise. Proverbs 5:23 say: “Many die because they have no self-control…” Are you someone who cannot control your zip? Is boozing alcohol your way of life?  Are you a gambler? Are you someone addicted to pulling other people down (Bad heart)? Do you abuse drugs? Do you have the habit of talking negatively about other people? Are you someone who is constantly bitter or jealous? Are you a gossip? Do you curse your children? Do you use profanities? You see, first, we form habits and then habits form us. Habits are like seeds, they grow.

I like the way people in the phone industry do business. Can you recall the time we first had mobile phones? Those days when ladies will be cat walking or guys will be carrying the load and seeking attention? Remember it? After some years, the size of mobile phones reduced. Today, we talk about Samsung Note 3, Note 4 etc. The models keep on changing. The point is: what model were you a few years ago? Were you someone who used to steal thousands but now steal millions? Or are you someone who used to take two bottles of “man pikin” but now you take two cartons in one hour?

Now, how do we break bad habits? First, don’t just go to the house of God on Friday or Sunday, please make effort to saturate yourself with the word of God and be a doer. Replace a bad habit with a good one. Be prayerful.  Acknowledge that you have a problem and ask God for forgiveness. Avoid bad companions. The best way to escape temptation is to run to God. Learn to associate yourself with people who will add value to your life. If you are a parent, like me, endeavour to be a good example to your children and invest time in them. These days our women say: “Don’t tell me how to dress…”! Tell me, what is wrong with decent dressing? Where are our values?

My late dad warned me against dishonesty, lying, smoking, drinking and other vices at a young age. I never saw my parents quarrel let alone fight.  Train up a child in a way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6).  Shun pornography and things that corrupt the mind. Don’t procrastinate.  Properly manage your time; have a daily to-do list. Today is the tomorrow of yesterday. Be humble. Some people just cheat.  Interestingly, a cheat does not like a fellow cheat; a thief does not like a fellow thief. Be trustworthy. Don’t be desperate for anything. Learn to be calm. If your spouse is upset for instance, you keep quiet; it takes two to tangle (I will talk about these vices in subsequent articles). Finally, if you try to get rid of a bad habit such as alcoholism or smoking but can’t do it on your own, please seek professional assistance.

I tell people most times that it is good to have a vision. Beautiful! The issue is that we can never solve a problem with the same mind-set that created it. We must break bad habits and develop positive ones and we will see real transformation in our lives and in our country.

For any comments, please email beyondborders.column@gmail.com. See you again next week.