Lent starts on Valentine’s Day this year. If you go to Ash Wednesday service, are you going to wash your forehead before your hot date that night? Things to consider.
You don’t have to be Catholic to participate in the practice of giving up something for the 40 days leading up to Easter. The concept of giving up something for Lent is a form of fasting. If we can go without an indulgence, then our focus can be retrained to that which is important. I find this to be a delightfully recalibrating practice every year; however, you might remember from a previous article I wrote called 40 Days of Fitness, that I tweak Lent a bit.
I typically use the 40 days of Lent to start a habit that I want to be permanent. Research shows that it takes anywhere from two to six months to form a new habit and 40 days is a really good start to finishing a two month period.
You might be thinking that if the point of Lent is to fast, then starting something with the intent to make it a habit isn’t really an even exchange; however, you may be wrong.
Many people give up things like drinking, chocolate, or social media. While all of those things seem admirable, I challenge the intent. Are you really never going to check Facebook, eat a brownie, or have a glass of wine again? If your intent is to refocus on God, peace, mindfulness (whatever it might be) then why not implement a habit that will help you accomplish your goal beyond the 40 days of Lent? Set a goal to journal, take a 20-minute walk after lunch, have only one glass of wine, or spend only X amount of time on social media for 40 days.
Creating good habits will put you on a path toward transforming your body, mind and spirit that is lasting. #gonnagetit