In this video I teach you how to use lent to make a permanent habit change instead of a short term elimination.
If you normally observe lent then what I am about to share will help you get the most health improvement from it. If you are not of a religion that observes lent, then you can always play along just for fun as the underlying concepts will still be useful to you.
Lent is a period of 40 days before Easter, observed by many Christian sects. In honor of Jesus living in isolation in the desert most observers will give something up for lent. When I was in grade school chocolate or soda was the common choice. But then as soon as lent is over many people gorge themselves on whatever they had been denying (think a mountain of Chocolate Easter Eggs); promptly undoing whatever health benefits had accrued during lent.
But there is a better way; there is a way to make your Lenten vow into something that actually improves your life. So rather than spend the 40 days longingly looking at candy bars at the checkout, dreaming of Easter morning, you can make a vow that you plan to keep after Easter, as a permanent change. You see, 40 days is enough time for most people to have turned a new behaviour into a habit; as long as you are not planning to break it that is. Changing your habits can be hard, but if you observe lent it is a great time to do it, since the religious aspect can help a lot of people to stick to their vow.
So you pick a habit you would like to change, work out the permanent aspect of it, and then add something on stricter that is just for lent but will assist you in keeping it. Let’s say you drink too much soda, instead of giving it up completely for lent and returning to old patterns after Easter you could decide you are going to limit yourself to two cans per day, with no rollover. To assist yourself in keeping to it you will not be allowed to buy any new bottles of soda during lent itself. This means you have a limited amount to drink, meaning you know you have to stick to your limit or bellow to last until Easter. This example was one my wife and I have actually done; we have done similar ones with chocolate and sweet treats in general.
The exact vow you pick is dependent on where you are right now. If you don’t drink soda every day then the example above won’t do anything for you, so pick something that is your current vice. Other ideas you could try would be to reduce coffee, alcohol, tobacco. You could even use lent as a time to limit screen time (set yourself a maximum time per day, and then forgo playing any games on your phone during lent, or switch your phone off after a certain hour).
Just think, would God rather you suffer simply out of devotion to Him, but in the end get nothing out of it: or have the same amount of suffering, but come out of it a better person? I’m pretty sure it would be the latter.
Max is a health coach serving the Sarnia region. Max specializes in helping people regain their health and keep it long term through habit evolution.