Here’s How You Could Benefit From Lent

Here’s How You Could Benefit From Lent

Here’s an opportunity to ‘go again’, especially if your New Year’s resolutions have lost their momentum.

Like the beginning of a new year, the beginning of Lent is one of those psychological points in time for making new commitments.

Whilst New Year is about setting goals and making plans, for many people Lent is about making some form of sacrifice for the 40 days (excluding Sundays) that lead up to Easter.

Whether we recognise ourselves as spiritual or religious beings or not, we can use today (the first day of Lent – Ash Wednesday) as an opportunity to start something new.

Traditionally Lent has been about sacrificing something that’s not good for us – which may be beneficial but always sounds a bit hard, dull and selfish.

Here are a few thoughts:

  • Make other people the focus of your 40 days of commitment or sacrifice.
  • Build on the positive and think of something that’s going to add something to someone else’s well being. It might be a ‘random act of kindness’ each day or something specific for someone at work or home.
  • Think of something of value that you have that you could share or give away each day. It could be money, time, knowledge, a smile, a meal, etc.
  • You already know from experience that when we give we ‘receive’ a great deal of pleasure in return. You have to try really is hard to loose out when it comes to being generous.
  • Hook up with someone else and do it together. Or find a group of like-minded people to team up with – we’re designed to cooperate and work together in community.
  • You could do this with your work colleagues.
  • Or you could even do something as a business for your suppliers or customers. A good way to make yourself standout in a meaningful way! (But make it sincere and be motivated by doing something that will benefit them.)
  • Ask a pal to hold you accountable to your commitments.
  • It will help with your staying power if you let other people know what you’re doing – go public with your commitment.
  • If you fall off the bike for a day, that’s fine. Just pick yourself up and start again tomorrow. And technically you get Sundays off too!
  • If you too are perennially overly ambitious, resist the urge and start small. You can always increase as you progress along.
  • Even if you don’t make a commitment yourself, encourage others. Perhaps the thing you can ‘give away’ for the next 40 days is ‘encouragement’! Look out for 1 person you can encourage today, 2 people tomorrow, 3 people on Friday….!

The good thing about Lent is that it’s only 40 days – you don’t have to do it forever. However, you may have enjoyed it and benefited from it so much that you want to carry on. Your ‘daily action’ may even be well on the way to becoming a ritual or habit!

Mark Dyble

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