Unlike most folks I do not make New Year resolutions
Not because I don’t believe in resolutions, but because I know me and after Christmas I am not going to be hitting the gym every day, nor will I be likely to skip Netflix in the evening and do something more productive. For me, the season of resolution starts in February or March. This season, many of us know as the “dreaded 40 days”.
In our family we observe the practice of Lent
Lent is a religious season for sure, we “give up” various life pleasures from Ash Wednesday until Easter Sunday. If anyone reading is good at math, it is actually longer than 40 days, but hey, who’s counting? Traditionally, this is also a time of fasting and giving up meat, and in certain circles all animal products. So, basically, for a little over one month, a portion of the population electively becomes vegan, showing that while possible to survive without meat, it pretty much stinks.
For the sake of this blog, I am NOT going to focus on the religious aspect of the season
I am no teacher, I’m hardly qualified to tie my own shoes let alone expound upon the spiritual. I do know, however, that religious practice while it first appears ‘irksome’ actually has huge benefits to a very happy and productive life. And I think we can all agree that we all want to be as happy as possible.
This season is kind of like a yearly boot camp
If done correctly, you set yourself up for making positive life changes for the rest of the year. It is a good time to introduce customs into the family and eliminate habits. I know that during the year I pick up many habits that need to be expunged and if this season was not structured for me I would likely go through the year adding to this list vs eradicating them for good.
“Customs are generally unselfish.
Habits are nearly always selfish.” – G. K. Chesterton
I think the most important element to the season is not simply to take away, but to replace. Nature abhors a vacuum, eliminating something, even a good thing, creates a void that is easily replaced with another vice.
For Instance, think about eliminating coke
For any non Texans, this refers to any cold syrup based beverage… not Dr Pepper, and not the white illegal powder. if all you do is eliminate coke, I can almost guarantee the habit will come back as soon as the 40 days are up. But, if you replace it, say with Ice Tea (For non-southerners that means ‘unsweetened’), you might find that you don’t crave coke for the rest of the year.
Another example would be TV and Movies
While great forms of entertainment, you may decide to cut down on some of the screen time. If you simply stopped watching TV for 40 days you will likely go comatose in front of Netflix on Easter Sunday. However, if you use the time to listen to an Audible Book, you may find that you grow to like listening to a classic, or delving into a subject you don’t know much about. If actual reading floats your boat, go for it! Unfortunately, I have not found a way to read with kids. Unless you count my kids favorite, the retelling of the surprising chronological actions of strangely precocious animals, better known as the “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” series, as reading
My Lenten Resolution
So, while half the world has already given up on their New Years Resolutions I am starting mine, and for at least 40 days, I am resolved to be a better man. 😉