The Lenten season is a time of year when many people take stock of their lives and change focus on the spiritual side of life. As we approach Lent, we must consider what we can give up to make room for spiritual growth. From bad habits to reaching out to others, here are 40 things you can give up for Lent if you're looking for ways to draw closer to God. Whether setting aside time for reflection and fasting or creating a daily prayer time, these practices can help us cultivate more meaningful relationships with ourselves and others.
Benefits of Lenten Practices
Lenten practices allow us to focus on spiritual growth and reflection. It's a time of year when we can step back from our everyday lives, take stock of what matters the most to us, and make changes for the better. Giving up certain activities or indulgences creates space for meaningful conversations with ourselves and others. We also practice fasting, prayer, and acts of charity that can help keep us focused on God's love throughout this season. All these practices help us cultivate a deeper connection with God as we reflect on his grace and mercy. Lent is a great way to gain greater insight into using our talents, energy, and time more effectively for spiritual growth.
Lent is an incredible time to focus on spiritual growth and reflection. By practicing fasting, prayer, and charity, we can deepen our connection with God while gaining insight into how to use our gifts more effectively. So, what will you give up for Lent this year?
What to Give Up for Lent
Are you looking for a way to focus on spiritual growth and reflection during Lent? Giving up certain activities or indulgences can create space for meaningful conversations with ourselves and others. This is an excellent opportunity to practice fasting, prayer, and acts of charity that can keep us focused on God's love throughout the season.
So, what should you give up for Lent this year? Here are 40 ideas to consider:
1. Excessive smartphone usage
2. Refusing to forgive and move on
3. Alcohol consumption
4. Watching superficial (main stream) TV shows or movies
5. Impulsive shopping
6. Binge-eating snacks or sweets
7. Gossiping about others
8. Spending money on unnecessary items
9. Complaining about things we’re not happy about
10. Staying up late past bedtime
11. Surfacing through the internet without a purpose for an extended time
12. Making excuses instead of taking action
13. Judging people by their looks or lifestyle
14. Saying “I don’t care” when asked questions
15. Procrastinating tasks until the last minute
16. Staying connected to negative people
17. Indulging in too much caffeine
18. Not getting enough exercise
19. Eating unhealthy food
20. Smoking cigarettes or vaping
21. Skipping meals
23. Holding grudges
24. Being ungrateful
26. Living in the past
29. Avoiding difficult conversations
30. Not expressing your feelings.
31. Engaging in gossip
32. Worrying too much
33. Dwelling on mistakes
34. Refusing to ask for help
35. Letting your emotions drive your decisions and action
36. Obsessing over perfection
37. Not allowing yourself time for self-reflection and mindfulness
38. Focusing on material possessions rather than experiences
39. Not getting enough sleep
What to Do More for Lent
Lent isn't just about what you give up; it's also a great time to focus on doing more things that bring you closer to God! From spending more quality time with loved ones to volunteering in your community, many positive activities can enrich your spiritual journey this season. Here are some ideas of what you can do more of during Lent 2023:
- Create space at home for prayer
- Make time to pray a rosary each day
- Read books about Catholic theology and spiritual practices
- Journal regularly about God's and Our Lady's work in your life and the progress you are making with personal spiritual growth
- Cook meals for people who are elderly or unwell in your church community
- Practice gratitude by writing three things you’re grateful for each day
- During this time, practice frugal habits by tracking your expenses, and setting a tight budget is a good idea.
- Read books and listen to post casts about Catholic theology and spiritual practices
- Make time to listen to music that fills your soul with peace and joy
- Attend Mass at least twice per week
- Take part in adoration sessions available at some parishes
- Take part in volunteer opportunities at your church
- Support missionary work either financially or through prayer
- Donate items or funds to a church
- Practice random acts of kindness towards strangers or those in need
- Attempt to listen more than you talk
- Attempt to be more patient with yourself and others
- Offer to help someone else in need, expecting nothing in return
- Appreciate the beauty of nature and the outdoors
Lent is a particular season of reflection and spiritual growth. Whether you choose to give something up or do more of something positive, use this time to focus on growing closer to God and creating meaningful connections with yourself and others.
Contact with People
The Lenten season is a great time to focus on connecting with others in meaningful ways. While giving up certain activities or indulgences can be challenging, doing so can help create more space for engaging with people around us. Whether reaching out to old friends or connecting with new ones, Lent provides the perfect opportunity to make meaningful connections and deepen our relationships. So this Lenten season, why not contact someone you care about? Even if it’s just sending a text or calling them up, these small gestures of kindness can strengthen our bonds with others.
Lent is a time to strengthen our relationships with those around us. So why not take this opportunity to make meaningful connections and deepen our bonds?
Reaching Out to Others in Person
In our increasingly digital world, it's easy to forget the importance of reaching out to people in person. With so much of our communication happening over social media platforms, we rarely genuinely take the time to connect with the surrounding people. Lent is an excellent opportunity to focus on strengthening real-life relationships and trying to reach out and communicate with others face-to-face.
While it may feel intimidating initially, inviting someone for coffee or lunch can make all the difference in building meaningful connections with people. It doesn’t have to be a big event - even just talking together at your local cafe will do wonders!
You can create long-lasting relationships that enrich your lives by intentionally reaching out to others in person this Lenten season. So why not try this year–you never know what kind of positive impact it could have!
It's easy to get stuck in a rut of bad habits, especially when we don’t have the motivation or energy to break them. Lent is the perfect time to consciously change old habits that no longer serve us and create healthier ones. Whether overindulging in sugary snacks or procrastinating on tasks, giving up bad habits during Lent is an opportunity for personal growth and development.
First, could you take the time to identify which habits are most disruptive in your life? Once you know what behaviors you want to work on, break them down into smaller goals that are easier to accomplish. For example, if you're trying to reduce your sugar intake, cut out soda and sweets one day a week until you reach your goal.
Finally, remember that breaking bad habits takes time and dedication—so don’t get discouraged if progress isn’t immediate. Celebrate small victories and enlist support from friends or family who can encourage and motivate you as you work towards bettering yourself this Lenten season!
With Lenten season upon us, it is the perfect time to break bad habits and replace them with healthier ones. We can create a better version of ourselves by looking honestly at our behaviors and setting manageable goals. So let's make this Lenten season count by taking the steps necessary to break unhealthy behavior patterns - and set ourselves up for success!
Breaking Unhealthy Patterns of Behavior
Breaking unhealthy patterns of behavior is an essential part of self-improvement and growth. During Lent, it's crucial to identify unhealthy habits, break them down into smaller goals, and work towards replacing them with healthier alternatives.
Start by examining your daily routine and pinpointing which behaviors you want to change. Break down big goals into smaller, easily accomplished steps to simplify the process. For example, if you reduce sugar intake, cut out soda and sweets one day a week until you reach your goal.
It's also important to remember that breaking bad habits takes time and dedication - so keep going even if progress isn't immediate. Celebrate small victories and tell friends or family about your progress for support.
Finally, I'd like you to please take advantage of this Lenten season as an opportunity for personal growth. Whether overindulging in snacks or procrastinating on tasks, consciously changing old habits will lead to more positive outcomes in the long run!
Letting Go of Stressful Habits
It's no secret that life can be stressful. With the pressures of work, family, and financial obligations, it's easy to become overwhelmed with stress. During Lent, take this opportunity to evaluate your habits and identify which ones are contributing to your stress levels.
Start by listing the things that cause you to stress in your life. Once you’ve identified these sources of stress, please take steps to reduce their impact on your life. This could include taking breaks during the day to relax, saying no to extra commitments, or limiting time spent on social media.
In addition, focus on developing positive coping strategies for dealing with stress, such as deep breathing exercises or talking with a trusted friend or family member about what is bothering you. Prioritize self-care and allow time for relaxation and leisure activities, like walking or reading a book.
By letting go of stressful habits during Lent, you will have more energy and clarity to focus on the things that matter in life!
Time of Reflection and Fasting
Lent is a time for reflection and fasting that helps us to focus on our relationship with God. During Lent, we give up certain luxuries or habits as an act of spiritual discipline and self-denial. Whether it’s hours spent scrolling on social media, overeating junk food, or watching TV late into the night, giving something up can be an effective way to cultivate better habits while connecting with God.
We have practiced fasting worldwide in various cultures and religions for centuries. It serves as a reminder of our dependence upon God and helps us to create a space in our lives to center ourselves around Him. Even if you don’t follow any faith tradition, fasting during Lent can help bring more awareness into your life.
Choosing something challenging and stretching your limits is the most important thing. Whether abstaining from caffeine or taking regular breaks throughout the day, it’s important to pick something meaningful to get the most out of this season of reflection and growth!
As we journey through Lent, may we seek to surrender our hearts and minds to God in all we do. In the next section, you must learn to set aside quiet contemplation and reflection time.
Setting Aside Time for Quiet Contemplation
During Lent, it's essential to contemplate and reflect on our relationship with God. Setting aside a few minutes daily can help us stay focused and mindful of our spiritual journey. Whether you prefer a solitary walk through nature or meditation in the comfort of your own home, choose something meaningful for you.
You could also take some time each day to read Scripture or an inspirational book. Writing your thoughts in a journal is also an excellent way to process your emotions and experiences during this season of fasting. If you're looking for something more interactive, plenty of online resources can help guide you in prayerful reflection.
The goal is not to create unrealistic expectations, but to establish simple routines that keep us connected to God throughout the Lenten season. No matter what we do, the most important thing is to remain open-minded and receptive to His love and grace as we seek Him out.
Limiting Food Intake During the 40 days
Many people limit their food intake during Lent to connect with God spiritually. This traditional practice is based on the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before his ministry began. Though there are no set rules for how to fast during Lent, some people may opt for one full day of fasting each week or abstain from certain types of food for the entire season.
For those looking to curb their appetite without going hungry, Lent offers an opportunity to become mindful of our eating habits. Eating smaller portions and reducing unhealthy snacks can be mentally and physically beneficial, allowing us to focus more intentionally on spiritual matters. Taking the time to savor each bite and appreciate God's bounty can be a powerful act of gratitude during this season.
No matter our dietary choices during Lent, we should strive towards moderation. By being mindful of our needs and respecting holy traditions, we can make the most of this sacred time by growing closer to God through prayerful consideration.
Church Attendance and Prayer Life
During Lent, people often practice fasting, prayer, and regular church attendance. It is essential to devote time during the 40 days to reflect on one's faith and deepen one's relationship with God through prayer. Establishing a connection with the divine through regular mindfulness can foster our relationship.
Attending services at church during this season is an important way of connecting with fellow believers and joining in worship. Engaging in activities such as listening to sermons, singing hymns, and reading scriptures can be very meaningful when attending services virtually or in person. Becoming open to the message of Jesus' love and grace can promote spiritual growth, leading to a closer relationship with Him.
Finally, taking a few moments each day for silent prayer or meditation can be a powerful tool for spiritual growth during Lent. We can dedicate this time to thanking God for all He has given us or asking Him for guidance as we walk through this season together. By committing ourselves to these practices throughout Lent, we will experience profound spiritual transformation by the end.
By deepening our relationship with God, we can learn to live a life of faith with greater purpose and joy.
Creating a Daily Prayer Time
One of the best things we can do for ourselves during Lent 2023 is to create a daily prayer time. Getting caught up in busy schedules is easy, but taking 10-15 minutes daily to talk with God can be incredibly beneficial. During this sacred time, we can thank God for all He has done, ask Him for guidance, and talk through any concerns or worries. This intimate moment between us and the divine will help us feel more connected to God’s love and grace throughout Lent and beyond.
Making daily prayer a habit may take some practice, but it is worthwhile. Once you establish a daily praying routine, you’ll find that it becomes easier. Consider adding scripture passages or hymns to your prayers to make your prayer time even more powerful. These spiritual reminders will help keep you grounded in Jesus’s love during this season of reflection and renewal. So set aside some time each day during Lent 2023 for prayer - it will surely be one of the most rewarding things you do!
What is the best way to pray to God?
According to the Catholic Church, the best process for facilitating prayer to God is first to acknowledge God's presence and then focus on the four elements of prayer: adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication. We can do this through formal prayers, speaking from the heart, or combining both. Going to confession regularly can help cultivate a deeper relationship with God.
Prepare your heart: Take a few moments to relax and clear your mind. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you and help you focus on God.
Praise God: Begin your prayer by praising God and thanking Him for who He is and His love and grace.
Confess your sins: Acknowledge and confess your sins to God. Ask for forgiveness and commit to growing in holiness.
Pray for others: Pray for God’s will to be done in the lives of your family, friends, and others around you.
Pray for yourself: Ask God for guidance, strength, and wisdom for your decisions and challenges.
Listen: Spend some time in silence, listening for God’s still, small voice.
Respond: End your prayer by expressing your faith, love, and thanksgiving to God.
*Source: cathedraistm.org, amadorcatholic.com
How can I break bad habits?
Breaking bad habits is possible but requires intention, determination, and behavior modification techniques. Tracking the frequency of the bad habit is one way to start, and creating a list of behaviors to stop doing and prioritizing them can also help.
Please take a moment to consider what specific pattern you want to break.
Understand why you do it: Ask yourself why you engage in the habit. Is it out of boredom, stress, or something else?
Set goals: Set short-term, realistic goals that you can achieve to help you break the habit.
Find substitutes: Find activities or behaviors to replace the bad habit that fulfills the same need.
Hold yourself accountable: Let your friends and family know your goals and ask them to help you stay on track.
Reward yourself: Rewarding yourself for good behavior is a great way to reinforce positive behavior and stay motivated.
Track your progress: Track your progress on paper or in an app to stay motivated and accountable.
Don’t give up: Breaking a bad habit takes time and patience, so don’t be discouraged if you slip up. Keep going and stay focused on your goals.
Source: health.harvard.edu, wired.com
What are some recommended books about Lent?
Where the Eye Alights: Phrases for the Forty Days of Lent. If you're looking for a book to help you reflect on the season of Lent, I recommend Where the Eye Alights: Phrases for the Forty Days of Lent by Marilyn McEntyre. This book contains forty meditations derived from Scripture and poetry to take readers on a spiritual journey beginning with Ash Wednesday and ending with Holy Saturday. Studying and praying can benefit your physical and mental well-being this time of year. It will encourage you to focus on words that cause you to reflect and explore how the Spirit communicates through phrases that can lead to profound experiences. McEntyre suggests pausing daily activities, allowing us time to reflect, meditate, or pray. This book suits those wanting the most out of the Lenten season.
Small Surrenders: A Lenten Journey. You might be interested in Small Surrenders: A Lenten Journey by Griffin, Emilie. This book offers a spiritual journey through Lent, exploring the small surrenders believers make throughout the season. It provides insight into the various aspects of Lent and encourages readers to be open to transformation through grace. It's a great way to observe Lent and gain a deeper understanding of the season. It's a perfect fit for you if you're looking for a book to help you reflect on the meaning of Lent.
A Season for Rebirth. You might find A Season for Rebirth by Foley, Marc, and Saint Augustine of Hippo an excellent book for Lent. This book invites readers to reflect on their lives and open their hearts to the voice of God so that Lent can be a time of spiritual renewal and rebirth. It is a great way to explore Lent's profound meaning and find peace and joy in the season. You will explore the spiritual aspects of Lent and find a deeper connection with God. This book is perfect for anyone looking to make the most of their Lenten season.
The King, Crucified And Risen: Meditations On The Passion And Glory Of Christ (Daily Readings from Ash Wednesday to Divine Mercy Sunday). The King, Crucified, And Risen: Meditations On The Passion And Glory Of Christ (Daily Readings from Ash Wednesday to Divine Mercy Sunday) by Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel is an excellent book for you to read during Lent. This book offers daily reflections on Christ's agony, death, and glorious rising, helping you to embrace the mystery of the cross as a fundamental truth and reality of your faith. It also encourages readers to practice fasting during the penitential Lenten season and provides the lyrics to hymns for the season. You can use this book to help you more fully understand Christ's sacrifice and renew your faith.