I feel I need to first mention that I’m not Catholic, nor am I a Christian.
However, I think that Lent, like New Year’s, is a great time to start new habits or break old ones while you have the support of friends who are also doing the same. I often find that the habits I form during Lent do persist after Easter has passed, which means that a) I had a pretty bad problem before Ash Wednesday and b) I have helped resolve that problem by a lot!
Some things I’ve given up in the past:
- 2011: Facebook & Tumblr
- 2012: Chips & McDonald’s (McDonald’s had gotten too convenient with their fries & sweet teas)
- 2013: …?? Did I give anything up last year? I don’t think I did actually?
Huh, I don’t think I gave up anything last year. But the previous 2 years I remember being tricky. I missed event invites on Facebook. I ate chips with all my sandwiches and soups! (I have a real passion for chips.)
This is maybe going to be my toughest lenten period yet (even tougher than the sad days I had to say no to chips). I have been mildly addicted to TV ever since I was little. My daily routines were structured around my TV schedule. Wake up, watch Sesame Street, Magic School Bus, take a nap, watch Big Comfy Couch, watch Bill Nye, watch Saved By the Bell, etc. etc.
Today, this manifests as me having several shows that I watch each week. I only watch a couple of them when they actually air, which means I typically end up holed up in my room with my computer, watching things on Hulu, CBS, or streaming them from less reliable sources. I also occasionally binge watch shows. Recently, I just finished watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl and I am caught up on Hannibal now.
I have a problem.
I need to solve this problem.
So, I have decided I will allow myself three shows to watch, and I may watch TV socially. But no more holing myself in my room watching TV just to pass the time. (Why do I watch so much New Girl? I don’t like it very much!)
Right now, I’m trying to figure out what shows I will allow myself to watch and I will try to watch them when they air, to minimize temptations to click to the next show and watch TV for 3 hours on my computer. The list right now looks like this:
- Once Upon a Time is non-negotiable. It is a problem in and of itself, but I have been waiting for the mid-season premiere and Lent is not going to stop me from watching it.
- How I Met Your Mother is finally almost over and I want to see it through. I don’t love it as much as I used to, so we’ll see if this stays on the list.
- Hannibal is the newest show I’ve started watching, and I only started because I was too lazy to not watch the season premiere. (I was already sat in front of the TV and I didn’t feel like changing the channel. Do you see how problematic this addiction is?) We’ll see if I keep watching it or if I’ll pick something else.
Other contenders include: Big Bang Theory (next runner-up), Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Elementary, Modern Family, and Community (last runner-up). Also, it goes without saying that I can’t start any new shows.
This will be a challenge, and it is meant to me.
In addition, I have been talking to some people about using Lent as an opportunity to add something of value and meaning to your life rather than trying to subtract something. My friend Jenn used the example of eating less beef or red meat. If you try to cut out red meat completely, you’ll likely eat a herd of cows on Easter Sunday. BUT, if you say you’re going to eat more turkey, it’s a bit easier to substitute a turkey burger for a beefy burger to reach that goal rather than turning down a beef burger with a pout on your face.
So! On that note, I am trying to snack healthier by just snacking on more fruits and veggies and making sure I eat fruits and veggies more often throughout the day. This goal will be harder to check up on, I think, but it will also be good for me.
(Also, I am aware that Sundays are essentially like “cheat days”, but I have pretty bad problems that require complete discipline. I won’t let myself have days to binge-watch TV. Or eat tons of chips.)
Do you typically give something up for Lent?
If so, what are you giving up this year?
If not, what are some habits you would like to increase/decrease in general?