How to Overcome Bad Habits


On Fridays, I post excerpts from the writings of the great American bishop and media evangelist, Ven. Fulton J. Sheen. I call them #FultonFridays.
“I have a bad temper,” or “I drink too much”—“”I am always criticizing,” or “I am lazy” are familiar complaints from those who still believe that nobility of character is an important goal. They would not make such admissions if they did not have a strong desire to break the chain of evil habits. They can realize this desire—any bad habit can be broken. But getting free of it requires four things:
Introspection is necessary in order that we shall isolate the habit and see it clearly as a sin. The surprise we feel when others criticize some fault in us proves that we have not practiced introspection sufficiently to know ourselves. Some people are afraid ever to look into their consciences, for frear of what they might find; they are like the other cowards who dare not open telegrams because they dread bad news.
But introspection is to the soul what diagnosis is to the body—the first necessary step toward health. The prodigal son “entered into himself” before he was able to resolve to admit his mistakes to his father. Turning the search-light of attention upon ourselves shows us the vice or evil habit which requires correction; it makes us see ourselves not as we wish we were, bus as we really are.
Avoiding the occasions of sin is the easiest way of avoiding sin itself. The way to keep out of trouble is to keep out of the situations that lead up to trouble: the man who gets burned whenever he is near a fire had better eschew fires. The alcoholic must void the first sip of the first drink; the libertine must keep away from pretty women, the


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