If there’s one thing I take very seriously every year, it’s Lent. 40 days to go without something you love that you would probably be better off without in the first place. Also 40 days that allows you to change something about yourself for the better. 40 days out of 365 isn’t a huge sacrifice, so I try my best to stick it out.
I used to look at Lent as a diet; cutting out almost every fatty food possible and shock horror, I usually caved three days in. Over the past couple of years I’ve decided to change a small number of things so that I’m more likely to stick to it. It takes 21 days to break a bad habit, so if I get that far, I can definitely stick out the 40 days and possibly further into the future if I feel the benefit.
Here are the five bad habits that I’ll be quitting.
1. Diet Coke
My worst habit. Being completely honest, I think the minimum amount of Diet Coke I drink per day is one litre. I usually have one bottle in work, maybe a can as well, then will have two or three glasses in the evening. I know it’s an addiction and I try every year to cut out Diet Coke completely. I went as far as 23 days in January 2018, but contrary to the above, the habit didn’t break.
I know it’s bad for my body and is probably the root cause of my heart palpitations. Not to mention, when I drink too much of it I get really bad chest, back and jaw pains and here I am sat with a glass of the stuff while I type this blog post. I’m prepared for the headaches, the shakes and cravings that will come after a few days without and I’m determined to last the entire 40 days.
2. Being lazy
I’m doing away with the ‘I can’t be bothered’ attitude and excuse. I put things off all of the time and end up with one million things to do and all due at the same time. I’m going to make the most of all the time I waste by procrastinating, sleeping and watching Netflix and instead, get things done. My dissertation isn’t going to write itself.
I think the main thing is being more productive and pushing myself to just do things. It all comes down to the attitude you have to life and your mental health. I’m going to look at my tasks with a positive attitude and look forward to doing them. My main sense of accomplishment comes with ticking off my to-do lists. Even adding simple things like ‘shower’ or ‘cook dinner’ gives me extra motivation to get them done quicker so that I can tick them off.
3. Spending so much time on social media
In yesterday’s blog post, I discovered that I have spent 27 hours on social media in the last seven days. That’s only on my phone, so doesn’t factor in the time I spend on social on my laptop. But 27 hours in seven days is just ridiculous. I’m going to be cutting this right back during Lent and hopefully I’ll get used to no longer being so consumed by other people’s everyday lives.
Social media can make us look at our own lives a lot more negatively, so it will do a world of good to restrict how much time I spend on it. I also hope to not document so much of my life on social media during the 40 days too. But with trips booked for Amsterdam, Dublin and London – that might be a little hard to do.
4. Silly spending
Silly spending including the Starbucks coffee I buy when I’m in university, the bottle of Diet Coke on my way to work, the £4 bagel on my lunch break, eating in McCooleys three nights per week etc. etc. I’ll be more frugal during Lent and trying to save money that I will be needing for my trips away and throw in my birthday and St. Patrick’s weekend – March is going to be a very busy month.
I’ll hopefully be doing a lot more cooking and actually make use of the kitchen in my flat – yes, I actually do have a kitchen believe it or not – and bringing lunches to work and university to stop me spending. It’s going to be hard to beat £4 dinners in McCooley’s, though.
5. Not exercising enough
I’m starting back at my old gym on Monday, and really want to try and fit the gym into my weekly schedule around university, work and socialising. I used to feel really crap about myself when I worked full-time in London and woke up, went to work, came home and lay in bed and repeated this cycle for five days in a row. Now that I’m back to 9-5 work, I don’t want the same thing to happen.
When I’m more active, I always feel so much better. Even if it’s getting out for a walk or making sure I hit 10,000 steps per day. I’m going to get into the habit of making exercise a priority. I’m not going to be the next Caroline O’Mahony but I just want to use Lent to kick-start a healthier lifestyle for myself.
Hopefully the habits I break this Lent will create new ones that I will carry on after Lent is over. Is there anything you can give up for 40 days? Or even, go on something like adding meditation to your morning routine, committing to reading every day or giving back to your local community in some way?