I grew up in the Catholic church. I attended Catholic school for all of elementary, did youth group through high school, and joined a Catholic sorority in college. As I’ve gotten older, one thing has stayed the same: I. Love. Lent.
The idea behind Lent is that you forgo something for 40 days to mimic the 40-day journey in the desert Jesus experienced before his crucifixion. I’ve included a few links below for anyone who wants to know more.
If you aren’t religious, Lent is still a great season to help kick any bad habit you want. Starting today, Feb 26, you’ll give up one thing for the next 40 days. In the past years, I have given up meat and drinking (separate years). Giving up alcohol has become “old faithful”, but since I’ll be doing Whole 30 in April I’d like to enjoy alcohol while I still can. Alternatively, you can also add a positive habit to your life for the 40 days. Try starting a gratitude journal, or telling someone each day that you love them. The idea is to come out of this period better and happier than before.
Let’s Talk About ME
This year, I’m going to log off of social media. My goal is to only log into Instagram to post. I mean, my birthday IS in March so I HAVE to post about it or it didn’t happen! Overall, that means no endless scrolling, no mid-work-day distractions, and no getting riled up by random acquaintances on Facebook.
Social media has been a big part of the last few years of my life. When I turned 18, I joined upwards of 20 online dating sites. As you can imagine, I dedicated a large amount of time to them. Now that I’m in a long-term relationship, all of the time I used to spend on those sites has been redirected to Instagram. Or Twitter. Or Facebook. Currently, I’m running 3 Instagram accounts and monitor 3 categorized feeds. Between those, Twitter, Facebook, Bumble Bizz, Tumblr, LinkedIn, and Snapchat, I end up losing a good chunk of my day to my phone.
Setting a Game Plan
If you are wanting to do something for Lent, or any 40 day period, here is my advice.
- Evaluate the areas of your life that could use some improvement and look at any bad habits you’ve formed.
- Be clear on your goal. If your goal is vague, you leave yourself open to cheating, which defeats the purpose. For example, “I’m limiting myself to one episode of tv each day” is a better goal than “I’m going to watch less tv”. (Fun fact, you can technically cheat on Sundays!)
- Tell everyone. Giving up something is hard. It’s especially hard when people don’t know you’re doing it. When I give up drinking, I make sure that my “drinking lunch” group knows. Since they know I’m not drinking, I avoid any prompting to order a drink and can have someone stop me if I try to cheat.
- Be strong! 40 days is only a small fraction of your year. Enjoy it!
As promised, for all of you honorary theologians…