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Lent is traditionally a time when Christians might observe fasting or give something up they enjoy such as chocolate, sweets, TV or smoking.
In 2019, it starts on March 6 and ends on Thursday April 18 with April 19 marking Good Friday—the day of Jesus' crucifixion.
According to the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent 40 days and 40 nights fasting in the desert where he was tempted by Satan before he began his ministry.
Christians therefore observe the period leading up to Easter as a special time in which they commemorate His sacrifice.
But even if you're not a Christian and don't believe in Jesus, there's something to be said for observing this sacred time.
The word Lent is derived from the Old English "lencten" meaning "spring season," which still has the same meaning in Dutch.
As we enter into spring, the traditional season of rebirth and new beginnings, we can think about how we can improve our own lives and those of others by doing a "spiritual spring cleaning" and tending to our inner selves.
Easter Sunday marks the day that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples.
So the period of Lent, regardless of whether you are a practicing Christian or not, can be a time for peace and reflection in the lead up to a resurrection.
Like Jesus or the Phoenix, we all have the potential to rise from the ashes and transform our lives for the better.
But you don't necessarily have to give up something that's bad for you.
You could also make a commitment to do something positive such as a daily reading, meditation or charity work.
Here are a few other ideas for Lenten promises...
- Write a daily gratitude list.
- Pay someone a compliment every day.
- Exercise for at least 30 mins a day.
- Volunteer for a good cause.
- Do a different kind deed every day.
- Take up a new hobby.
- Say positive affirmations. (e.g. I am enough, I deserve love and happiness.)
- Join a support group or club.
- Do a digital detox.
- Eat more fruit and veg.
- Travel to new towns/cities.
- Get in touch with an old friend.
- Be less wasteful or use less plastic.
- Establish a meditation routine.
- Drink more water.
- Cut down on caffeine.
- Learn a new skill.
- Donate to charity.
- Set short/long term goals.
- Limit time spent watching TV.
- Declutter your home.
- Tell someone you love them every day.
- Organise your finances.
- Write a daily journal.
- Set a daily intention. (e.g. I will be kind and loving towards others.)
After 40 days you might decide that you want to continue with whatever practice, fast or activity you've been doing.
But however you decide to observe Lent, you have the potential to devote this time to your personal development and in doing so inspire happiness and joy in those around you.
Even the smallest change can have a ripple effect and raise your vibration to send positive vibes into every area of your life.
Like attracts like, so when we live in abundance and gratitude, we attract more good and positive things into our experience.
Likewise when we focus on what we don't have and spiral into negativity we can get ourselves into a rut that's difficult to come out of.
So, use Lent as a time to do something good for yourself or others.
Remember—you can't change the whole world, just the bit around you.