Today is Ash Wednesday, which means that a huge portion of the world is going to give something up today from now until Easter, which falls at the end of March this year.  Now I am not catholic, but I do think there is a certain value in giving up something in order to strengthen yourself.  After all, all addicts say they could give it up and they just don’t want to.  So maybe its a good time to give something up, just to make sure you really can do without it.  Much like New Years, this can be used as an artificial construct to get you to do something you wouldn’t otherwise do.  In a good way.

The key to succeeding with a diet is to go cold turkey, and stick to it 100% for 30 days.  If you can do something for 30 days, you have moved beyond a thought pattern, and actually changed your habits.  Once that happens, you will have a much higher chance of maintaining your progress for the rest of your life.  This is true of all life changes, and lent is conveniently longer than 30 days.

So what are some things you can give up?

Eating Desert – Desert is the part of dinner that has no redeeming value.  I used to eat desert every night (including nights I didn’t necessarily eat dinner).  Also, I used to be fat.  Maybe there is a connection?  Give up desert till Easter and see if the pants get a bit looser.  Along with that, stop trying to replace desert with healthy options.  It’s still food you don’t need to be eating, and often the alternatives have more chemicals that the food.  Also, desert’s cost money, so it will stretch your food budget further to upgrade your dinner options a bit.

Using a credit card – Nothing good comes with debt.  Period.  Even if you pay off your balance in full at the end of each month, it still cost you money.  Your brain feels pain when it parts with cash.  You don’t feel that pain when you charge something, which leads you to spending more.  Your little 1% back is not changing your life.  Debt is the most heavily marketed product in the universe, they are not losing money to you.  Stop using one till Easter and see how much you spend.  Best way would be to pay cash for everything, but even a debit card will be an improvement.

Drinking/Smoking – You would assume these two things would go without saying.  I enjoy the occasional drink, and have never smoked, so I don’t relate on that level with the addiction, but no one that smokes can look me in the eye and say its healthy.  So knock off your vice until Easter and see how much better you feel.  If that doesn’t work, see how much money you save by not smoking.

Watching TV –  TV is another one of those things that everyone knows is bad for you, but we all do it, including me.  It makes you dumber, and fatter.  So why do we do it?  For me, it’s because life is stressful, and sometimes I want to turn my brain off.  Yet how much smarter would I be, and how much more would I accomplish if I stopped?

So I am not making a recommendation on what to give up here, you should figure that out for yourselves.  I would recommend giving something up, for its in absence that we grow stronger.  Give it some thought.  I am always in favour of changing lives in a positive way.  Let me know in the comments section what you are giving up.

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