In the most of the Christian churches, this week marked the beginning of the Lent season. Traditionally this is the time when people give up something in a response to the sacrifice Jesus made when he was crucified on the cross.
In those modern times, few people actually take this tradition seriously and even fewer actually end up doing it.
Yet, I think this time represents a very good opportunity to just take a moment and think about the things in our life that we want to give up. I like to see this time as an opportunity that will allow me to identify the things in my life that keep me away from becoming the person I want to be. We often hold on to bad habits simply because they have become part of our daily routine. I think it would be a good challenge if we just take our time to identify those little bad habits we have every day, and work for the next 40 days to replace them with new, positive ones.
We need to get rid of the old habits to make room for the new, better ones.
So here are a few ideas of how you can use this time to give up bad habits and cultivate good ones:
1. Stop using technology for one day in the week.
My challenge will be to not use any technology for one full day and concentrate more on the real things that are around me. Yes, this would mean no smart phones as well. Very often we get distracted by our phones, computers etc. I constantly see people on their phones during dinner with friends, not really paying attention to the actual moment or listen to a conversation. They just let the moment pass by them. I must admit I often am one of these people, and I really mean to change this habit!
2. Take a moment to be grateful.
Instead of waking up in stress thinking of all the things you have to do during the day, take a moment and list in your head all the things you have in your life that you are grateful for. It could be your partner, your family, pet, job or simply the fact you are able to get up from your bed and get on with your day. I think gratefulness really can make us more aware of how blessed we are to be where we are, and it will undoubtedly make you feel instantly happy! What a better way to start your day than this?!
3. Do something new every day.
Have you noticed how you somehow end up always doing the same things every day? It is actually scary if you think about how many things you are missing out because of this routine you have created for yourself. So try to do something new every day. It could be simple things like walking to work instead of driving, or taking a different street to go to work. Do you often start your day with scrambled eggs for breakfast? Try having a smoothie instead! Go to a new place for a drink, call those friends that you have promised to call a while ago, but have never found the time to do it. The point is to get out of your comfort zone every day and do something that might even scare you. This can greatly improve your life.
4. Sacrifice the negativism.
There is nothing better to give up than the negativism! Every time you hear yourself complain and being negative about something, stop right there! Think about being grateful. Paying attention to negativism will also make you aware of how positive or negative of a person you really are. And it will make you work to become more positive and happy!
5. Identify a bad habit and replace it with a new, good one.
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. This is the perfect time to ditch a bad habit and replace it with a good one. Read a book instead of watching TV every night; cook your own dinner with your friends and family instead of ordering in; don’t just complain about wanting to get in shape for the summer – hit the gym; want to quit smoking? Eat some nuts or do a small exercise whenever you feel like having a smoke.
Don’t pressure yourself with the thought that you are changing something for the rest of your life. This can make you very stressed. Just do it for the fun of it for the next 40 days. After those 40 days if you have been consistent some changes might occur in your life.
I am definitely going to work on those 5 points myself and will report back on how it worked out for me. Are you up for it as well? Let me know if you do and how you progress with it! 🙂