4 Things You Need to Build Healthy Habits
Brother Michael: For me, this is inspiration. And that is a really good habit that every member of the Church Of Christ should really build on.
Shannon Santamaria: You’re just you’re just dropping all the best advice right now. I guess, you know, when it comes to creating healthy habits, it’s supposed to benefit us and I guess what better way for something to benefit us when it’s spiritual.
Shannon: You’re listening to Heart And Soul, a podcast from the Iglesia Ni Cristo Church of Christ. I’m one of your hosts, Shannon Santamaria, and it’s here where we have real conversations with friends who are helping each other reach the best version of themselves. This is Heart And Soul.
Shannon: Hey everyone! It’s Shannon here, and we’re opening up the new season with a series concerning self-care. And to start it off we wanted to talk about building healthy habits. In fact, I have a surprise for our listeners. This new season also comes with new hosts! And a few of the new hosts with me today are coming from across America. Camille Peralta who’s from New Jersey all the way on the east coast and Gretchen Asuncion who’s from Minnesota in the Northern Midwest and I’m here in California. These two are dear friends of mine and I’ve had so many wholesome conversations with them. I figured why not have them share their stories with you guys on Heart and Soul.
So I’m so excited because this is your first episode on Heart and Soul, and you guys are one of the main hosts now! How do you guys feel?
Gretchen Asuncion: Excited!
Camille Peralta: Yeah.
Gretchen: Excited to be here!
Camille: Ecstatic. Can’t wait to have these meaningful conversations with you guys.
Shannon: And, you know, I guess I’m building that habit with you guys to have these, you know, meaningful conversations here on Heart and Soul. So, I actually wanted to also introduce someone else who is with us, and that’s a minister of the gospel, Brother Michael Guerrero. Hello! How are you?
Brother Michael: Hello, everyone! I’m doing well.
Shannon: You know, when it comes to building healthy habits, there are a lot of areas to explore, a lot of things to look into, and I think it’s a lot to take in. But I think the best way to kick start the episode is asking what the Bible says. I want to get right into it because I know that these conversations are always spiritually guided, right Brother Michael?
Brother Michael: That is true. And so the verse that I’m going to read is 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5, verse 23, which states:
“May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
[2 Thessalonians 5:23 New Revised Standard Version]
Shannon: So, Brother, I guess, what I wanted to ask is that, you know, when it comes to this verse, is that a certain mindset that we should go into when it comes to self-care?
Brother Michael: Yes. You know, in fact, when it comes to what is mentioned in this verse, it isn’t just our physical body that is being mentioned that we should take care of. Because when we talk about self-care, it can mean a lot of things. Building healthy habits can also be a lot of things, or mean different things to different people. And in this verse, it talks about our spirit, our soul, and our body, right? So, these are all things that we should, especially as members of the Church Of Christ, always think about and take care of, because we use all of these things in our service to God.
Shannon: You know, I think I really wanted to open up this episode with new hosts and a verse right off the bat, because this is kind of… this is going to guide us. I mean, you know, I often ask myself, is building this specific habit, you know, biblical or is it on the right path when it comes to serving God? I don’t know if you guys have ever asked yourself that?
Gretchen: Yeah, it does come to mind just to make sure that you are aligned with, you know, our Almighty God and our Lord Jesus Christ and just being able to be centered… almost.
Camille: I agree. And when I listen to this verse that our spirit and soul and body be kept sound, I think about all the different aspects, the different kinds of health that we maintain, like not only our physical but also our spiritual. I think all of that ties in together. You know, being able to establish security and stability in your life in all the different aspects. Right? And I feel like one of the ways that I can do that, you know, being a servant of God, keeping myself healthy, exercising and eating the right foods, being able to sustain myself so that I can all the more be of service to God and also my duties in the Church.
Shannon: I know, Camille and Gretchen and even Brother Mike, before we hopped on to this podcast, we were talking a little bit about what we’ve been building. At least building good habits or building healthy habits. The things that we’ve been working on on the side. I guess, for me, I want to start off, you know, one of the healthy habits that I built was this is interesting. I guess compartmentalizing, like, my bag. Like, there’s a place for everything in my bag. And like, instead of just throwing things in my bag, I make sure that every part of my bag has a space or it’s properly organized. I feel like I’m more at ease when it comes to trying to like, find my wallet or find something that I need in my bag.
Camille: I love that.
Gretchen: I do. I should probably take that. I might take that, Shannon from you.
Shannon: I wanted to ask you, what were some of yours, what were some of your big habits that you were building? I know that we’ve been talking about this topic way before we were going to start recording this episode.
Gretchen: Definitely making time for creativity, because sometimes you need to find an outlet to let your creative mind flow. So, I really dived into paper crafts and even journaling too. So, that was… that really fueled my creative heart.
Camille: Well, first of all, Gretchen, I love that you’re finding new ways to dive into your creativity and trying to make that a habit. That’s always important to be able to, you know, incorporate play into your lifestyle and have fun. A habit that I’ve been building is at the end of a work day, since it is an office sit down kind of job, it’s very sedentary. So, what I try to do is incorporate some light exercises or stretches. While the sun goes down, I feel the warmth of my skin. It’s just a really good regimen to get yourself out of the working mindset and into like a more relaxing mindset. So, that’s a habit that I’m trying to build. And, and I’ve been really enjoying it! Trying to take care of my body one day at a time.
Shannon: So, I was trying to figure out why I never continue building the habit. Like, I’m on and I’m off. Like, sometimes I’m committed to working out and sometimes I’m not. And every time I try to start a new habit, I’m just not committed to it, or, you know, I’m not consistent with it.
HABIT 1: Stacking habits.
I guess what they’re trying to say is, you know, the first step is, if you already have a habit, try to work around that habit by adding on top of a habit. So if I wake up in the morning and I fix my bed every morning, then I’ll add on a habit after I fix my bed because it’s already something that I do. So, I wouldn’t know what habit I would add on after fixing my bed, because usually after I fix my bed, I just lie back down in it? There’s something about lying down in a clean, in like, a fixed bed that’s just, like, it’s different. Anyways, but stacking habits [laughs] but stacking habits, you know, it’s supposed to help instill new habits by connecting them to ones we already do.
Brother Michael: I feel that by doing that, you build a routine, right? That’s what that is.
Shannon: Yes, almost. I mean, it’s pretty hard to build a routine if we’re, like, super hectic.
Brother Michael: But, like you said, when you’re stacking something, you make your bed and then your next thing, whatever it’s going to be, is something that you’re going to do again the next day or whatever. So…
Shannon: You know, I think I did build the habit of fixing my bed and then lying back down in it.
Brother Michael: Hmm. Ok.
Shannon: I mean, I don’t think that’s a good habit. So…
Gretchen: Then maybe the next habit is to not lay back down.
Shannon: Break the habit.
Shannon: Yeah! But, I guess, what are some… well, how… maybe… how would you go about, you know, stacking habits or, you know, putting two habits together?
Gretchen: I think by starting your day off, right? Kind of going back to what Camille was talking about how she wakes up in the morning and does some light exercise in which like for me maybe I should start stretching in the morning after waking up and then after stretching, you know, start making my bed! I think small stuff like that, I mean, maybe dedicate your first 20 minutes to just that and then go on with your day.
Shannon: Yeah, I think so too.
Brother Michael: Have you guys planned your day? Like, have you just sat down and said, this is what I’m going to do today? Because I feel like… well, for me, I write things down in what I want to do and then I check them off as I do them. So one, I already have a plan of what I need to do or need to get done, right? And then things that I might want to do if I have time. But what’s nice is, you know, in my planner, I use time blocks. So this amount of time is just for this… then, you know, and so on and so forth. And for me, it helps me be productive because… and it’s also a good way if, you know, you’re looking to accomplish something, because when you write that stuff down and then you get to mark it off or check it off that you accomplished it, like what Sister Shannon said earlier, you know, it’s just something nice about making your bed and having a [fixed] bed in the morning. [Laughter] It’s a nice feeling when, you know, you can check things off, little things that you need to do during the day. And you, you know, you’ve accomplished something. And it’s a good thing to look at at the end of day. Like, look at all the things I did today, even if they’re all small.
Shannon: No, I think I for the most part, I generalize my day. Like, I wake up and I’m like, okay, I want to work… I want to make sure I get a workout in or, you know, I want to make sure I get to work on time. I think that’s how I go about my day? I don’t really have a set plan and I don’t, like, block it out. I kind of recall that part of the article, because what the article had said is that, you know, the second and third is to start small.
HABIT 2: Start Small and Be Realisitic
HABIT 3: Stay Consistent
So the tips that it was giving me was like just start small and think about all the options and tasks it takes to complete it. So, I think that goes into planning?
Gretchen: Planning is good. I mean, does anyone else use a planner? [Laughs]
Camille: I would say that my method is sort of similar to Brother Michael and that I do block out my day. From work to exercise to any, you know, extracurricular meetings and the little things I kind of set aside as, like, a written on paper to-do list, and I cross them out as I go along. It’s such a satisfying feeling to be able to focus on one thing. Once you get it done, just cross it out, you don’t have to worry about it later.
Brother Michael: You can have that is… you don’t have to think about it, you know, like, what am I supposed to be doing? Oh, I wrote it down. So, okay, I’ll go, you know, take care of that. And then I get to check it off and it’s just nice to be organized, I guess.
Gretchen: Makes me feel accomplished after. Yeah.
Shannon: And I think that, maybe, that’s like a key motivator. A key motivator when it comes to staying consistent. Because it also said that, I guess, when it comes to picking a habit or choosing a habit that we want to instill, it’s like, to be specific and to choose a realistic cue.
HABIT 4: Ask God For Help
So, I mean, you know, like, planning or adding it into your calendar, I feel like that’s pretty realistic.
Camille: Mm-hmm. But one thing that I guess doesn’t make sense to add to my calendar is I want to be able to sleep earlier. I don’t think that’s something that people put on the calendar. Like, I have a meeting with my bed. I’m going to sleep at 11 p.m..
Gretchen: You know, maybe that’s what it needs to be!
Shannon: Maybe you should add it!
Shannon: I mean, maybe if, like, if you have it on the calendar, like bed, like make sure you leave.
Camille: Meeting with: myself; Location: bed; Description: time to sleep.
Shannon: I mean, if I, if you can plan going out to lunch with a friend, you can plan going to bed by yourself.
Camille: Oh, true. But you know what? In the discussion of stacking habits, I think something that would help me to commit to going to bed on time would be to… let’s see, what’s something I can do? Oh! I can do a cool downtime and just like not have any access to any screens or blue light so that I can really, my body can really cool down and my eyes won’t get, you know, distracted by all the, the different, like, things on social media and YouTube. I can truly just like, shut off and shut down for the day.
Gretchen: Yeah, I’ve done that habit where I was just… it was like, okay, if I’m going to try to sleep early tonight, I need to… at least an hour before I plan to sleep, I shut everything off.
Camille: You’ve got to wind down!
Shannon: You know, I think that, I think all of us can agree, like, we’re on and off at some habits that we’re trying to instill. Like sleeping early or stacking habits. But I wanted to mention this:
On average, it takes more than two months before a new behavior becomes automatic.
Shannon: At least that’s what I was reading on jamesclear.com when he was talking about new habits.
Camille: Oh, it’s no wonder why I’m always, like, giving up on the attempt of habits that I try to take on! So, like, how… How can we keep it going for two months, Shannon?
Shannon: I don’t know! I mean, and it’s so hard to stay consistent. Like, I feel like it’s really long of [a] continuous new habit. Like regardless of how hectic your schedule is, it’s really long.
Gretchen: I mean, we can all hold each other accountable, right? If we’re trying to build a new habit, it’s like, hey, Camille did you set your bed… not bedtime [laughs], but I guess your “date with your bed” you know? [Laughter] Like, Brother Michael, did you check it off your list?
Brother Michael: Yeah.
Gretchen: With the workout equipment that you had.
Camille: Gretchen, did you block out time for your creativity?
Gretchen: Right! So, I think accountability will help this to become automatic, right?
Brother Michael: And I think for the planner stuff or the like a calendar is important because I think for most people you have to see it, right? Like if you see that you didn’t accomplish it, it kind of, kind of bothers [you] a little bit, right? You’re like aw man, why didn’t I accomplish that today?
Shannon: Yeah, it does. It makes me feel some type of way.
Brother Michael: Yeah. So, I think, visually, you need to have something there to help you.
Shannon: I think, Brother Mike, when I don’t commit to a new habit or a habit that I’m really trying to, trying hard to, to really stay consistent with, it’s like I’m heartbroken with myself. Like I let my own self down… almost. But I want… I guess I wanted to ask, you know, how do we move past that? Because it isn’t, it isn’t a great feeling to, you know, have that disappointment of trying and trying and trying, what advice would you give to stay consistent regardless of that inconsistency? Does that even make sense?
Brother Michael: Yeah. I mean, people don’t like the feeling of failure, right? I don’t think anybody wants to fail at anything that they’re trying to accomplish. But, of course, you know, failure is not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean that if we aren’t able to accomplish something, that we should stop trying, right? So actually, there’s another verse that I’d like to read and this is in 1 Timothy, chapter 4, verse 8:
Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.
[1 Timothy 4:8 Today’s English Version]
Brother Michael: So, with this verse, of course, I know Sister Shannon that, you know, you’re really into exercise and things like that. And I think you had mentioned that you just recently competed, right?
Brother Michael: In like a… what do they call it? A meet?
Shannon: Yes. Like, a competition.
Brother Michael: Okay. Competition. And you did well, right?
Brother Michael: What place did you get?
Shannon: F-first. I mean, we don’t have to mention that!
Camille: Wow! Congratulations, Shannon!
Shannon: Pull 300 pounds on a given day.
Gretchen: Like, it’s nothing.
Camille: Just 300 pounds.
Gretchen: Like, no big deal.
Camille: You’re just strong or whatever.
Shannon: No, no, no. I mean, I guess. I guess, I know what you’re trying to get at, Brother Michael. Like, there were days where I was having a really bad training day, right? It was just really bad, but I stayed consistent with it.
Brother Michael: You just had to keep going. And again, you know, when it comes to us being members of the Church, when you fail and maybe you get sad because you weren’t able to accomplish something. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s tomorrow, you know, it should be, actually more motivation for you to continue, like what the Bible says, right? This stuff is all important. The things that we do in life, you know, they bring us joy and… and they help us, you know, in our life. But of course, the things that would help us the most, even coping with failure, for an example, is, you know, our service to God. Our spiritual mindset. And that’s why the Bible is very true when it says, “spiritual exercise is valuable in every way,” and it’s not just for now, the Bible says, even “for the future.”
Shannon: So, spiritual exercise, I guess, like, consistently sharing my faith. Because sometimes I’m scared to share my faith. I don’t know. Like, I get shy, I’m not really scared, but I get very shy when it comes to sharing my faith because I’m like, oh I don’t want to get rejected, but I want to make it a habit to be confident regardless of if I get a no from them, you know?
Brother Michael: And I guess maybe that’s what you can do is just think about it like that. The worst they can say is no. And if we understand… if we understand that, for example, sharing our faith, like what you mentioned, is part of our spiritual exercise, and you’re a great example for this because we know that you do physical exercise, right? If it’s important for you to progress by consistently lifting, consistently progressing, as far as weight goes, then it’s the same thing with the spiritual side, for example, sharing our faith. Yes, the first time it might not be easy for you, but the more you do it, the easier it gets, right? So that’s why the Bible likens it, like, exercise, right? It’s… it’s a progression. But to get to the point that you want to get to, you’ve got to start somewhere. So that first invitation, maybe you might have fear, but remember that we have the true faith, so that should remove some of the fear already! Because what I’m doing, what I’m sharing with you is the truth. And some… some of the youth that I talk to, when it comes to sharing our faith, I always tell them, if they’re scared, start where you go a lot. Like, for example, here in California, especially here in the Bay Area, man everybody drinks boba. So I tell the youth, when you get like for example, our INC Media cards, and some of those under my care, in my locale, they would do this. They go to a boba shop and in the tip jar they would leave an INC Media card.
Gretchen: Oh, that’s awesome.
Shannon: That is really sweet.
Brother Michael: Yeah.
Shannon: I guess, Brother Michael. I mean, because I’m a convert, I’m just realizing a couple of things right now in our discussion or just the conversations that we’re having. I feel like attending worship service is really instilling good habits. Like before I, you know, when I, when I wasn’t a member before because I’m a convert, I wasn’t always diligently praying. But there are habits that we do and that we know to confidently do which is, I guess, something that… to reflect on, especially when it comes to creating new habits or sticking to good habits that we want to instill.
Brother Michael: Yeah. And you know, for, you know, going back to sharing your faith, especially since you were not born in the Church, you’re a convert, I like to remind people who are converts, think about when you weren’t a member, right? Think about what life was like without God. And then now think about it. Now that you’re a member and that God is with you.
Now think about all of the people that you know that don’t know what it’s like to have God in their life. That kind of motivation should make everybody go out, I mean, run out and just share their faith. You know, it’s like, I know what it’s like not to have God in the past. And now that I do, I cannot help but share this feeling with you that I, you know, for me, this is inspiration. And that is a really good habit that every member of the Church Of Christ should really build on.
Shannon: Yeah. I mean, you’re just you’re just dropping all the best advice right now. [Laughter] And I’m really appreciating the advice it’s given, you know, because, I guess, you know, when it comes to creating healthy habits, it’s supposed to benefit us and I guess what better way for something to benefit us when it’s spiritual and it’s for our faith? I guess I wanted to ask, Brother Michael, you know, is creating healthy habits, does that help our faith? I mean, we talked about it in the sense of, you know, sharing our faith, but it could be personal things, too.
Brother Michael: We can read another verse. Proverbs 4, verses 20 to 23. This is what it says:
Son, pay attention to what I say. Listen to my words. Never let them get away from you. Remember them and keep them in your heart. They will give life and health to anyone who understands them. Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.
[Proverbs 4:20-23 Today’s English Version]
Brother Michael: So, in these verses… there’s a lot of good things that we can take from these verses… that we just read. First, you know, God is telling us to listen to what He’s telling us. He said, “listen to my words.” And not only did He say, “listen…” but He said, “Never let them get away from you.” Right?
So, that it…just that in itself, as a… as a member of the Church Of Christ, for anyone who’s trying to build healthy habits or do better, especially in their service before God, this is something that is super important. So, of course, we hear the words of God in the worship service. That’s like, number one, it’s the basis, right? The basis of our faith are the words of God written in the Bible. We receive that during the worship service. Super important, not just to be there, but be there physically, be there mentally, be there spiritually. And everything that we take from that worship service, the Bible says, “keep them in your heart.” Meaning, we need to put these things into practice, right? And when it comes to obeying, because, maybe, there are some who… they haven’t been in this habit of worshiping all the time or they haven’t been in the habit of following all of the commandments of God. There’s always a blessing attached. Always a blessing attached to God’s commandments. So, when God says listen to His words, when He says, don’t let them get away from you, there’s always a blessing.
The blessing is, He said, “They will give life and health to anyone who understands them.” [so] “Be careful how you think…” And that’s something that’s very important in today’s world, especially with the youth, right? “Be careful how you think…” There’s so many people out there who are trying to influence us. They’re trying to make us do things that aren’t in line with our faith, our beliefs. And that’s something we have to be very careful about because the Bible says, “your life is shaped by your thoughts.” So, those things we really have to, not only be careful with, but build a good habit of following and obeying the commandments of God.
Shannon: You know, I guess, when it comes to building good habits, I’m going to make sure that I’m going to stay on… Heart and Soul and have these really, really awesome and heartwarming conversations. I’m learning things today! Then I got to find a… I’ve got to make sure that my habits are in line with God’s teachings, too.
Brother Michael: And that’s kind of what we were talking about in the very beginning, I think, right? When it comes to body, soul, right? Spirit, everything, everything that we do, like what we mentioned earlier, even building good habits when it comes to making our bed or whatever it is that we decide is a good habit. [Laughter] All of those things, right?
Shannon: Hey, that’s a real habit.
Brother Michael: I’m not saying it’s not a good habit to have, but everything we do should, you know, make us a better servants… before God.
Shannon: You know, we… we can talk on and on and on about building good habits, building healthy habits. But, you know, we’ve got to save it for the next podcast. So, thank you for the wonderful advice, Brother Michael Guerrero. And thank you, Camille and Gretchen, for joining today!
Gretchen: Thank you!
Camille: Thank you!
Shannon: You have the cutest voice. “Thank you!” [Laughter]
So, when I get off this podcast, I’m going to start or at least try to build one healthy habit at a time, and I’ll let you guys know next time if I was successful or not, but hopefully successful because as long as it’s in line with God’s teachings, I think I can build those good habits. And make sure, to everyone tuning in, if you want to check out our sources, feel free to visit incmedia.org and it’ll be at the bottom of our podcast so you can go and check those out.
In fact, I guess one thing that I wanted for you guys to do is build the habit of tuning in to INC Heart and Soul. Again, thank you for listening to INC Heart and Soul, where we have real conversations with friends who are helping each other reach the best version of themselves. Bye! Bye, guys!
Brother Michael: By everyone, take care.