Lent is a season in which we give up something. We’ve been taught that from our parents. Our friends do it and we compare those things we are temporarily abstaining from for forty days. Giving up for Lent usually means that we will be going back to our ‘pleasures’ immediately after Easter Sunday.
Why give it up if you are not going to make it a habit for the rest of your life? We choose the ‘bad’ things – soda, candy, cake, beer (maybe not beer), etc. We know inherently that what we choose is bad for us; therefore, we give it up. And, there is always those Sundays in Lent where we can enjoy those things ‘given up’ for one day each week.
Why not concentrate on one thing and give it up for the rest of our lives (including Sundays)? Let’s assume for a moment that it is soda. Does your body require soda for nutritional sustenance? No. Is the real reason the addiction to the soda? Maybe. A prolonged physical withdrawal usually impedes that ‘need’ for more of it. However, you also need the mental state to go with it.
We need a two-pronged approach to give up something for the rest of our lives. In the middle 90’s, I chose to go on the Atkins Diet. I had been drinking Coca-Cola for decades. I loved it. I didn’t like diet sodas except for diet ginger-ale. I knew the ingredients in Coca-Cola were not good for me, but I was addicted.
I adjusted my lifestyle choices to minimize carbohydrates. I lived on less than ten grams of carbs/day for the next six years. It took constant vigilance and determination not to drink a Coke. However, over time, it became easier. I lost weight and that reinforced my determination to remain on the Atkins plan. A by-product (weight loss) of my lifestyle change toughened my resistance to drinking Coke. I believe I have had one Coke in the past twenty-plus years.
Giving up something ‘bad’ for you results in something ‘good’ for you. Focus on the good and allow the bad to become a forgotten memory. It might be more clarity of thought, better sleep, or just a better overall feeling. Grasp hold of that change in your life and make it the center of your new lifestyle.