There are things we do without a second thought. We shower, brush our teeth, eat breakfast and leave the house for work. Habits provide structure in our day and therefore structure in our life. In his TED Talk on forming good habits Charles Duhigg notes that habit accounts for 40-45% of our decisions every day. The more we do something, the easier it becomes to do continuously. Doesn’t that mean that the key to being who we want to be is taking our good habits and making them second nature while we trash the bad ones?
We may think the good habits are harder to build, but all it really takes is that momentum. Here are three powerful habits that, if we make a part of who we are each day, can snowball into a life full of inspiration, love and light:
An Active Prayer Life
Prayer helps us keep our spiritual compass in check and gives us a chance to create order. Prayer, in Father Moon’s words, relieves the frustrations of our hearts and helps us find solace. Prayer also helps us understand our life’s purpose, and of course, connect with our Heavenly Parent who so much wants to be a part of our lives.
Father Moon talks about how dedicating himself to prayer helped him understand God’s plan and mission for his life, saying that God’s words were like ‘coded messages, and I felt I needed to immerse myself even more deeply in prayer.’ Prayer is a potent force when we allow it to become a regular and sincere part of our lives. Keep a daily appointment with God, whether it be on your commute to work or those few minutes before you drift off to sleep. God wants to build that habit with you.
An Attitude of Gratitude
On the spiritual plane, gratitude and a positive perspective are invaluable. In his autobiography Father Moon says, ‘I always remember when someone helps me, no matter how small it may be. Even now that I am ninety years old, I can recite from memory all the times that people helped me and what they did for me.’
The fact that Father Moon has committed every such moment to memory reveals to us the value of making gratitude a habit. He uses the goodness of others as fuel to inspire his own actions of selflessness and continues to say: ‘If I receive a favor, it is important to me that I repay it. If I cannot meet the person who did this for me, it is important for me to remember that person in my heart. I need to live with the sincere thought that I will repay the person by helping someone else.’
It may seem phony at first, but drilling gratitude into your brain is a habit that you, and others who meet you, will always cherish. Write down three things at the end of each day that you’re grateful for, or share it in your conversations with God. If you’re likely to forget, wear a symbolic piece of jewelry or accessory or keep a token in your pocket that, every time you see it, you think of one thing you’re grateful for.
Keeping Aligned with a Purpose
Purpose and motivation are what ultimately drive what we do and who we are. For example, we all go to school at some point in our lives, but the reason for which we do makes all the difference in what kind of student we are. Father Moon says, ‘Before unconditionally focusing entirely on studies, young people need to realize what they want to do in life. They need to make a determination to use their talents to help the world rather than just serve themselves.’
The value of any good habit comes from the fact that it keeps us aligned. Prayer keeps us in contact with God’s plan for us while gratitude helps us stay motivated. Remember, habits are things we do consistently. If something can stop us one day then it can stop us every day. Don’t forget to make your good habits indestructible by making it a part of your daily routine.