Let’s be honest: whether you’re celebrating carnival or not, you’re not going to stop eating meat for 40 days. But what if I told you that there is another way of doing Lent? A modern way, that has nothing to do with religion and that will make you more effective at pretty much everything you do.
Now… you might be wondering… what on earth is “Lent”? The answer, for those who have been drowning themselves in alcohol, is “that thing you’ve been celebrating for the past week”. For those who have not, it’s the 46 days that come after carnival and that lead up to Easter. Specifically, I could give you some elaborate story about religious observance and fasting and whatever else, but I’m just going to leave that out because I’m fairly certain that if you cared about any of that, you wouldn’t need me to tell you about it.
Instead, I’m just going to tell you about the “New Lent”. The New Lent is very simple: you do, give up, or even just cut back on something, anything, that you feel might be a bad habit, whether it’s your mobile phone, a lack of exercise, every food that might be bad for your health or just that one bag of crisps on Friday evening. Now, that sounds like a tremendous amount of effort, and who even has time for that? But the thing is… not only does achieving your goal for 46 days give you a great feeling of accomplishment, but it will leak into everything you do. Lent is not something that requires discipline. It is something that brings discipline.
And that is why you should try it. How many times have you not procrastinated your work? How often does it happen that you spend hours feeling dreadful about an assignment you have to do, but just cannot get yourself to start working on it? How much time have you wasted on postponing things you eventually had to do anyway? All those things can be improved just by doing Lent, because it will give you the discipline you need in your everyday life.
And everyone can do it. Really. Most likely by this point the only people still reading this are those who know they can do it, but whatever… You CAN do it. It just requires planning. Rewards for your effort, whether it’s a whole lot of hoarded up chocolate bars for Easter or even a new phone. Something you might have felt guilty about before, but that you deserve for completing those 46 days.
The fact that New Year’s resolutions are still so common shows that everyone has things they want to improve, except those resolutions provide no incentive. They are hollow promises. Lent is different, because it has an ending. It is temporary. There is a goal. Doing exercise three days a week is a whole lot easier if you know that it ends after 46 days, rather than having to keep it up for eternity.
“But then what’s the point?” you might ask. “Why do Lent if it’s only temporary?”. The answer is simple: because temporary things might stick. After my first time doing Lent, when I stopped eating anything such as cakes, cookies and candies, my desire for those things never recovered. Perhaps it’s because sugar is an addictive drug, but I never felt as strongly about those unhealthy foods as I did before, and every year since then it has been easier. As cheesy as it might be, Lent has truly changed my lifestyle, in a way that New Year’s resolutions never could. It’s only 46 days, and anyone can do it.
This one was very different from my usual posts, but I just had to share it. Doing Lent has had a major impact on my life, so if I could even convince one person to try it by posting this, then it was worth it!
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See you next Monday!
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