Today, February 22nd is the beginning of the Lent period, which runs for 40 days starting on Ash Wednesday. Many Christian religions celebrate the Lenten period, from Catholics to Methodists. Other religions also have periods of time where they abstain from certain foods or behaviors.
Even though we are not in a religion that traditionally celebrates or observes Lent, I find the thought of giving something up or sacrificing something for a period of time to be potentially beneficial.
Among my friends here, I know several who are not trying to lose weight, but are giving up something meaningful to them. I have one friend who is giving up caffeine, another who is going to not purchase any shoes, another who is drinking only water in lieu of soft drinks or coffee, and yet another who is not really giving anything up, but rather going to try and eat healthier.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot over the past week, and decided that I do see a lot of value in giving something up, or incorporating a new behavior into my life – even if it is only for 40 days.
The potential value is threefold in my mind.
1) You challenge yourself beyond what you may think you are capable of. If I decided to give up coffee for 40 days (and you’ll have to read to the end to see what I chose) that would be difficult for me and challenging as I am one who loves my coffee.
2) It helps you focus a particular behavior. Oftentimes we get so caught up with trying to do everything right, that we may lose sight of the fact that small changes really can make a difference in our lives. For example, just cutting out refined sugars can make a difference in your cravings, your weight, and even your energy level.
3) It lets you practice self-discipline in a new area of your life. Perhaps you find it difficult to exercise regularly, and know in your heart that early morning exercise would work best for you. Your 40-day challenge to yourself could be to give up 45 minutes of sleep each day to make time for that exercise you know you need.
I’ve decided to challenge myself over this Lent period as a way to try something new, to reflect on parts of my life, and practice self-discipline. I wanted to use these next 40 days to give something up and to add something positive to my life.
For the next 40 days, I’m going to commit to strength training three times a week and I’m going to give up caffeine.
I would like to invite you to either give something up for the next 40 days or include something healthy and new for you during the next 40 days.
Do you see the value in giving something up for a period of time, and are you thinking about giving something up or adding something new for the next 40 days. Diane