Lent: Good things to give up and tips to stick to it!

Photo credit: Pictured: hot cross buns Source: Sarah (via Flickr)

Lent is just around the corner and for all us Christians, it’s about preparing for Easter. For everyone else, you might also use Lent as a time to make some changes and challenge yourself.

It is worth noting that Lent does not always have to be about giving something up. There are lots of things that you can choose to actively take part in instead to better yourself and your community in this period. You could choose to volunteer: Cardiff Dog’s Home in Grangetown is always looking for volunteers, and the University is constantly updating its one-off and regular volunteering opportunities. These include everything from helping out at local schools and nursing homes, environmental clean-ups and installations and events staff at sporting events. With Jailbreak coming up in March, lots of volunteers will be needed to run Basecamp and keep tabs on our teams! If you are a Christian, why not contact your church and see how you can get involved?

If you are thinking of things to go without, why not try a social media cleanse? Going without Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for forty days might sound impossible, but take it from someone who has tried it, it really is beneficial. Making more effort to see friends and/or family in person means more memories and a welcome break from studying and classes.

You could also take on round two of Dry January, and give up alcohol. The benefits of this don’t really need to be emphasised, just know that your liver (and your bank account) will definitely thank you. This doesn’t have to mean giving up nights out either, soft drinks are much cheaper and you don’t have to worry about overdoing it and wasting the next day in bed.

You could also try going vegetarian or vegan if it’s something you’ve wanted to try for a while. There’s no long-term commitment, but you might find that it really works for you and continue once Lent is over!

Of course, it’s sometimes too easy to fall of the wagon when you’re trying to give up something that you’re used to. So here are a few tips for keeping up your new resolutions!

Cross off the days. It’s simple, but tried and tested. Seeing how far you’ve come motivates you to keep going, and if you’re finding it difficult, it can be helpful to take it one day at a time and always keep the end in sight!

Do it with a friend! It’s much easier to give something up, or start something new, when you’re doing it with someone else. You can push each other to keep going when you’re flagging, and it will almost definitely turn into a competition to see who can last longer.

Write down why you want to start or go without something. Keep it somewhere you can see it, such as a pinboard or your diary. There’s something to be said for reminding yourself why you’re doing this, and it will help you to remember it when things are getting difficult.

Good luck!

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