So today is the first day of lent. Sadly I did not have a huge pancake party last night (I had sushi, it was yum, but I do also really love pancakes) but in case you weren’t familiar with it, the Christian* custom is to have pancakes on Ash Tuesday, and then give up stuff on Ash Wednesday until Easter.
I thought about giving up sex (like in the film 40 days and 40 nights**) but it would be a bit like giving up chocolate or cake
– I don’t actually have it often enough to make giving it up a fair deal. I then considered giving up alcohol, but with a best friend’s birthday this weekend, and another friend visiting for a week in March, I’m not sure it’s a feasible option. Yes, yes, yes I know it’s about sacrifice and it shouldn’t be easy etc. etc. but this would be unfair on the other people, I’m just thinking about them! Jeez!
So then I started googling things, and ended up down a huge rabbit hole and lost an hour of my life I’ll never get back. So I reminded myself I was no Alice***, pulled myself up out that rabbit hole, and thought I’d look at things another way.
I’ve been doing a lot of self-development as I’ve discussed before, and am currently working through some concepts in coaching and NLP. Something I have found very interesting is how the brain responds to the way things are approached. For example, many will agree that you should not talk about ‘giving up smoking’ because to your brain it says it is something you are ‘giving up’ – i.e. missing out on, whereas if you talk about ‘stopping’, it is just that you’re not doing it any more. Similarly, you shouldn’t talk about thinks that you don’t do, instead of things you can’t (read more about this from someone I think is a great read – Mr James Clear – who did a post on it here)
But then I thought, wait, what if I don’t have to not do anything. What if instead of taking something away from my life (whether for the greater good or not), but I focus on adding something instead?
There was a brief interaction with google, of which this is the first thing to note…
What the Actual F*ck? As much as I love noodles… haha
Anyways, back to me. I looked at things. I have a list. It’s not an original idea (I know people have done this in place of New Year Resolutions for example) But as yet I don’t know what I want to add. Whether just one thing or a few things. It feels like a big decision (which it kinda is but kinda isn’t) – but I’m going to use my 6 lent cheat days (don’t know what I’m talking about, see the ** footnote below) to decide what I think is best for me.
Maybe it will be yoga (I love it and haven’t done enough of it recently). Maybe it will be meditation (I also found that really beneficial but have found myself slipping with the daily practice). Maybe it will be gratitude. MAYBE it will be skydiving. OK, that’s a complete lie. Definitely not skydiving. Who knows… but watch this space and I promise you will be amongst the first to know! Until then… keep smiling.
*BTW I would not class myself as a christian in case you were wondering. I would probably say I’m agnostic. But hey, I love traditions if they’re nice ones, particularly in the interests of self development.
**Did you know that lent is actually LONGER than 40 days and nights? It’s because Sundays aren’t counted. CHEAT DAY. JOKE. But basically that’s what it was. Anyways. Now you know.
***As in Alice in Wonderland. Didn’t get it? Did you not read as a child? Or at least see the Disney film? Fine. Just go read the book.