It’s that time of the year again – when everyone asks ‘What are you giving up for lent?’
It’s a tricky one, I don’t like ‘giving things up’. It’s the wrong attitude to have, I personally feel. I always find if I decide to start a diet, I crave bad food much more. When I tell myself I’m going on a health kick and will start going for a run or to the gym three times a week, I never want to go! Whereas before I’d be happy to go when I felt like it, which was a lot more than when I started laying down my own rules.
It’s the same with New Years’ Resolutions! I have a friend who always gives up food she likes – last year it was pasta, this year it is bread. Then on New Year’s Eve, she will eat the food she gave up that year. I recently asked her, ‘What is the point? You haven’t bettered yourself or become healthier’ and she said ‘It’s my way of knowing I can do self-control.’
I feel that instead of having this attitude of ‘giving something up’ and thinking about things in a negative way, you should take on the attitude of ‘TAKING something up’, and thinking about it in a positive way. Take something up to better yourself, and be a better person than you were last year. Why must you punish yourself by giving something you love up? Take something up that will add colour to your life or even take something up which will allow you to have a better attitude towards things. For example – instead of the mental attitude I have of ‘going on a diet, no more sweets’, I will take on the attitude of ‘I’m taking up eating five different coloured fruit & veg a day.’
It can be as simple as ‘I’m going to take up opening the door for people’ (which I kind of hope you already do, but you get the point). What can you TAKE UP for lent that will better yourself? Why don’t you try taking up a new hobby? Painting, going to a dance class, a language class, trying a vegan diet one day a week.
And don’t get disheartened if you don’t stick to your resolutions. Change takes time and what is also important for anyone in recovery is ‘one day at a time’. Those who have achieved long-term recovery understand that change doesn’t happen overnight, but change can happen in one day. And the next one day. And the next. Change happens over time, by repeating a behaviour, learning new skills and understanding how to apply them, day by day. Not by randomly selecting a date (January 1st for instance) and declaring it the day of change.
So here’s my suggestion – don’t make New Year’s resolutions, choose to ‘take something up’ for Lent that will better yourself and you can get excited about – and live ‘one day at a time’. Just for today…Back to resources