40 Things to Give up for Lent
Video games, red meat, social media are just some of the possible items to give up for Lent. But, don't forget the more proactive things you could be doing more of like volunteering, cooking organically, and going on walks.
What things to give up for Lent? In grade school, it was all about giving up candy. Well, that might still be a noble goal for some of us, but times have changed.
When we consider things to give up for Lent, we also lump in things we should be doing more of in our consideration set. So, have a read through these for some ideas that might not only help you for the 40 days but maybe much longer.
Starting out – what to give up for Lent
1.) Swap out the morning coffee for green tea and an apple.
Loaded with antioxidants, green tea is a great way to start your day. It still has caffeine but not as much as your coffee–so you still get your morning pick-me-up but without the crash. Pairing it with an apple will give you more sustained energy and you’ll actually feel more energized than just drinking coffee alone.
2.) Cut out the fast food.
It’s quick, it’s cheap, it’s easy–nothing good in life ever comes quick, cheap, and easy. You already know you shouldn’t be eating the stuff, so why not give it up?
3.) Cook more dinners.
Establishing a relationship with your food is never a bad thing. And cooking dinner together is a great way to strengthen relationships in your household too. Plus (if you want a little extra incentive) you’ll save money by cutting out the restaurants.
Ideas on what to give up for Lent
4.) Try intermittent fasting.
Self-discipline, Lent, and your health! Abstaining from food at least 3 hours before bed and 3 hours after waking can help you shed a few extra pounds by the time Lent is over– and doctors are saying it’s actually pretty good for your overall health too. The best part is you can still eat all the same foods and the same amounts.
5.) Cut out the red meat.
Chicken, fish, pork–there are so many options you’ll hardly know it’s gone. And maybe you’ll discover some new favorite dishes while you’re at it.
6.) A green smoothie a day.
You’ve seen them around, maybe it’s time to give them a try. Spinach, kale, arugula, berries, bananas, yogurt, nuts, you name it; throw it in the blender and drink it. It’s quick and it’s easy and it’s awfully good for you. Don’t worry, they may look green and gross–but they taste pretty good.
Eat well – what to give up for Lent
7.) Shop organic.
It’s never been easier to shop organic. Perhaps you’ve been skeptical about if it’s actually better for you? Well give it a try for Lent and maybe you’ll notice you feel the difference. It’s certainly better for the environment and more affordable now than ever before.
8.) Give up the desserts and sweets.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but still tough to do. Lent is the perfect time to say no to the treats. One of the most popular things to give up for Lent is candy.
More ideas on what to give up for Lent
9.) Take a break from the energy drinks.
Simple things like having a light, healthy snack between meals can give you enough energy to keep you alert throughout the day. If you still feel like you need a boost, try doing some light stretching, taking a quick walk, or just taking a break from what you’re doing and work on something else.
10.) Put down the alcohol.
When folks ask me what to give up for Lent, here’s my advice for most: take a break from booze. Maybe it’s the weekend nightlife, or maybe just a beer to unwind after work; you’ll be okay without it for a while.
11.) Clean a different neglected area of your house or apartment each day.
One day it can be the closet, the next it can be under the bathroom sink. Imagine how clean your place will be after 40 days! Under the bed, the basement steps, the silverware drawer, the foyer floor, the blades of the ceiling fan, etc.
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Live healthy – what to give up for Lent
12.) Quit smoking.
Try the gum, try the patch, try the cold turkey. It’s never too late to kick the habit. Of all the good things to give up for Lent, this is at the top of the list.
13.) Stop vaping.
No smoke doesn’t mean any danger. Use these 40 days to kick the habit.
It’s not just what you give up for Lent. Try these too!
14.) Go for a walk every day.
Why not? Fresh air, exercise, and if you have a dog it’s really a no brainer. The Lenten season goes for 40 days. See how many walks you can fit in.
15.) Walk or bike for short trips.
If you can avoid the drive it helps reduce wear-and-tear on the vehicle and benefits your overall health with a little cardiovascular activity.
16.) Shop local.
The chain stores and online retailers are quick and convenient but not everything in life is about being quick and convenient. Try going local for 40 days and discover that there are a lot of positives to supporting the local community retailers as well.
17.) Switch to community radio.
Turn off your usual playlist or satellite radio and switch to the local stations without commercials. You might discover something new or learn about an event or program you’d like to get involved with.
What else can you give up for Lent?
18.) Turn off the Television.
You don’t need to kill your TV, just leave it unplugged for a while. You might be surprised how much more time you have during the day.
19.) Give up Netflix, Hulu, Prime video, whatever your favorite streaming service is.
It’s fun to binge-watch, but it’s also probably a good idea to take a binge break.
20.) Take a break from social media.
You can even put up a post declaring you will be taking a break. Maybe that will inspire some others to do the same. And don’t worry, it will all be waiting for you when you get back.
21.) Take a break from video games.
Like social media, your games will be waiting for you when you get back.
22.) Read for a half-hour every day.
Or whatever amount of time you want. Just sit down and immerse yourself in a book and your mind will thank you.
23.) Stop taking your phone with you everywhere you go.
Sure, it is partially a safety thing, but surely your phone doesn’t need to be everywhere you are at all times.
24.) Stop texting and driving.
It’s illegal anyway, yet it’s no secret you probably still do it sometimes. Well for the next 40 days, do it none-times.
25.) Try striking up conversations rather than burying yourself in your phone.
If you’re at the bus stop or in the waiting room, try not to pull out your phone and disconnect from the situation and instead try starting a conversation with someone.
26.) No electronics before bed.
The blue light from the screens can mess with your internal clock. It also is good to disconnect and quiet the mind and distractions in order to get yourself ready for restful sleep.
27.) Smile and say hello to people you pass on the street.
It’s amazing how much a smile can brighten someone’s day.
28.) Take a break from your pet peeves.
Nobody likes having pet peeves that irritate and aggravate them, so take a break from yours for a while. If something irritates you, just remind yourself that you’re giving it up for Lent. And if that’s not enough: fake it til you make it.
29.) Spend more time with your pets.
If you have a dog, take time every day to play or go for a walk. Brush your cat or pick up the laser pointer. Take your hamster or guinea pig out of the cage and hold them.
Even more ideas on what to give up for Lent
30.) Try something new and commit 40 days to the effort.
Anything. That thing you’ve always wanted to try but somehow still haven’t, give it a go.
31.) Spend 20 minutes drawing each day.
The right side of your brain is the creative side and the more we use it the stronger it gets. Doing a little drawing each day can go a long way toward improving your artistic skills and strengthening your creativity.
32.) Pick up an instrument during Lent.
Unless it’s a piano! Then, just play it. If you have an instrument sitting in some corner of your house that you tried to learn once or that you used to play when you were younger, dust it off and practice with it for 15 minutes every day. Maybe you’ll rekindle your fondness for it.
33.) Take time to do yoga or stretching.
Flexibility is a vital and often overlooked portion of physical health. You can even do it while watching TV or while talking on the phone.
34.) Give daily meditation a try for forty days.
It can be as quick as 10 – 15 minutes a day. Find a calm spot away from all the noise and distractions and start with some deep breaths and quiet the mind. Or, better yet, say some daily prayers to inspire you.
35.) Have a 1-hour morning ritual when you first wake up.
The first hour of the day can have an immense impact on the rest of the day. Starting the day with a morning ritual that might include some light activity, light reading, and light productivity can really set the pace for the rest of the day to follow.
Final thoughts on what to give up for Lent
36.) Have a bedtime routine before going to sleep.
Drinking some chamomile tea, doing deep breathing exercises, reading your book. Anything that you can do that calms you down and that you can do every night to signal to your body “this is bedtime” will help you fall asleep sooner and sleep better.
37.) Set a bedtime.
It sounds simple but as we all know it’s easy to overlook. Set a time to be in bed and for the next 40 nights stick to it.
38.) Get up early.
As a wise man once told me, “If you wake up at 6 you can win the day by noon.” Find a time that works for you and make a commitment to starting your day at that time for the next 40 days. But make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of sleep.
39.) Start keeping a journal for Lent.
There are vast benefits to journaling; try to set aside 10 minutes at any time during the morning, day, or evening, to sit down and journal. There is no wrong way to do it.
40.) Commit to being a volunteer.
This doesn’t have to be every day. Any amount of volunteering is a wonderful thing and it’s pretty painless. It can be at the local rec. center, the food shelf, or any other cause that you feel passionate about.
What to give up for Lent – bonus idea
That one thing.
I don’t know what it is, but you do. Maybe it’s been on your mind for years, or maybe you just realized it today. Maybe it’s something you want to stop doing — or maybe it is something you want to start doing. If it seems like a challenge, it’s probably perfect.
— Mike O’Halloran
Mike is an author, writer, toy inventor, and co-founder of Listcaboodle.
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