why i love lent

livinglagom.com - why i love lent

I’m a bad Catholic.

I rarely go to church. I can’t remember the last time I went to confession. Through the years, I’ve become much more spiritual, than religious.

But there’s something I’ve kept going from my Catholic school girl days . . .

Giving up something for Lent.

what is lent?

For all the non-Catholics/Christians out there, Wikipedia describes Lent as:

“A solemn observance in the liturgical year of many Christian denominations, lasting for a period of approximately six weeks leading up to Easter.”

During Lent, it’s traditional to fast or to give up something (normally luxuries) as a form of penitence.

I’ve given up many things over the years, including swearing, meat and my beloved unsweetened, soy, green tea lattes.

But instead of giving up something entirely this year, I’m going to try something different.

I’ve decided to take Lent as an opportunity to create new habits.

not your nun’s habit

Normally after Lent, I just go back to doing whatever it was I had been doing beforehand.

This time around, I want to create lasting change.

It takes at least 21 days to establish a new habit. Lent is 40 days. Perfect.

So here’s what I’m doing:

  1. Sweets and treats. My January challenge update showed that I have a penchant for snacks. So I’m giving up sweets and treats . . . with a twist. I can have whatever comes into my life serendipitously (aka free). Let’s see what delights the universe will offer me. Dark chocolate and plain popcorn will be exempt since I’m not a complete masochist. I also can’t buy healthy prepared snacks like LaraBars. I’ll just carry nuts and dried fruit with me instead.
  2. Portion control. I can still buy coffee and “designer” drinks. However, I have to order the smallest size. In fact, I’ll order the smallest size whenever the situation calls for it. I’ll learn moderation if it kills me!
  3. Reinstituting my disposable cup ban. I’ve been doing bad things with paper cups since the start of the year. Same rules apply as in 2012: $1 for each cup used and I have to recycle an additional cup. Any money generated during Lent will be added to my charity fund at the end of the year.

I’ve come to realize people are more accepting when you say you’re giving up something for Lent, than if you’re just doing it on your own. I found this especially true when I was trying to give up meat.

They don’t see it as much as a judgement against what they might not be doing in their own lives.

They think you’re doing it because you have to, not because you really want to.

So it’s a great way to test drive a change without having to explain yourself and justify your reasonings.

but i’m not catholic, christian, etc . . .

Meh. Let’s be real, it’s not sounding like I’m very Catholic either.

Maybe you have something similar in your own religion. Or if you’re not religious, make something up!

You could tell people you are giving up (fill in the blank) for . . . lagom! Say it’s like Lent, but of the secular division of Minimalism. See how many people nod in (fake) comprehension.

Lent (or lagom) starts this Wednesday and goes until March 30th.

Here’s to forming new habits!