If you didn’t manage to keep New year’s resolutions, then you’re not alone. Many people find that their good intentions simply fly out of the window after a couple of weeks, if not less, which means that they’re well back to old ways by this point in the year. However, thanks to the fact that Lent is just around the corner, you have a whole new chance to try and put those resolutions back into action.
This year lent starts on March 1st and ends on Easter Sunday on April 16th, meaning that you have plenty of time to try and get into new habits. It’s a great chance to try and give something up that you know has a negative effect on your life – but if you’re worried about what to give up, and whether you will be able to stick to it, then this article is perfect for you, as we have some great ideas that you can use.
Lots of us spend a huge portion of our lives on social media, and this can affect us in numerous ways. Not only does it encourage physical inactivity, but it also means that we may be withdrawn from family interaction, and it could damage our social life as a result.
Another effect of social media, particularly when browsing using a mobile phone before bed, is that it can interrupt our sleeping patterns at night. The light from devices can disrupt melatonin production – which is the hormone that we need to help us sleep – and for this reason we may find that we struggle to get to sleep if we use our phones too close to bed time.
Giving up social media for lent would be a great way to tackle this – but if you don’t feel as though you can do that, then giving it up for at least an hour before you go to bed, could have results that are just as good. When you start to feel the effects of this for yourself, you may find that you don’t want to start using it again!
People may have toyed with the idea of cutting meat from their diets at some point in their life, but if you don’t fancy giving it up for good then maybe lent would be a good time to give it a go for a relatively short period of time. There are wide reports that eating meat, particularly red meat, can be unhealthy for a number of reasons – mostly relating to cholesterol levels and also the hormones in the meat which could make it more likely that we develop diseases such as heart disease and cancer in the future.
The trick here is to find an alternative – and the good news is that there really are plenty of meat alternatives on the market. Things like Quorn and tofu are popular choices, but the best thing to do is to try the various replacements, to see which is the most appealing to you. If you don’t like one then don’t worry, as each of the replacements has its own taste and texture; you may prefer one dramatically over the others. You should also try to add flavour to your meals by using herbs and spices. There is a common misconception that vegetarians must eat boring, tasteless food – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Smoking kills and the dangers are well reported, though quitting can be hard. If you need an extra bit of motivation then a set time – such as Lent – could be just what you need to be able to achieve your goal of quitting smoking for good. We all know the risks of smoking, which include a heightened risk of cancer, and things like bad breath and skin damage, and there is no doubt that quitting – no matter how long you have smoked for – can have hugely beneficial effects.
If you don’t feel like you can quit completely, then cutting down is a good idea. For example, you may smoke in every break you have while at work – and during lent, you could go without it for your morning break. Or you could try an alternative such as an e-cigarette. There has been much praise for these, and there is lots of evidence that suggests that people can quit smoking by making use of such devices. I’ve written about my own experiences giving up smoking mood swings and all and if I can do it I guess it goes to show it is possible, even if those around me didn’t like me for a while during that time frame.
Think about food miles
If you’re guilty of running into the supermarket and simply picking up whatever you like the look of, then you may not realise just how far some food of it has had to travel to get to your plate. A great challenge to take during lent is to give up anything that hasn’t been grown or produced locally – exactly how locally is up to you. Usually, you will find that this encourages a generally healthier lifestyle, and it is a good way of trying to give the environment a helping hand, too.
Using your car
If you have a car, then it is easy to get into lazy habits, and this is largely due to it being much easier to drive than it is to walk. However, a sedentary lifestyle isn’t good for any of us, and for this reason cutting down on the amount that you drive could be a good idea. If you live relatively close to work, then walking or cycling could be a great replacement. Or, set yourself a limit whereby you don’t use your car if your journey is less than a mile, for example. This is a habit that you might find yourself sticking to long after Lent is over.
Generally, although lent is often used as a time to challenge yourself to see whether you can give something up, there is a huge chance that you would be able to make a difference to your life not just over Lent, but also in the long term. This means that you could use the time to kick some of the habits that you want to get rid of, and the tips here should help you to do that, meaning that when Easter arrives you can welcome a healthy new life for yourself.