Why I’m adding things for Lent instead of giving them up.

tea cupsI have a great friend who serves as my accountability buddy for a lot of lifestyle-related things - we often text to share successes and plans for the day, such as "Here are my meals laid out for the day - sounds good, hey?" and "I intend to go for a run tonight after work". We follow up to keep each other on track. I tell you, accountability is where it's at!

This morning, my sweet friend texted to ask if I was giving up anything for Lent. To be honest, I didn't know Lent started today (oops) and really hadn't given it much thought.

But then it occurred to me that the next forty days might be a good opportunity to make some changes. 

Lately, I've felt my evening snack habit take hold again (which I attribute to binge-watching all of Scandal in three weeks, the ceaseless cold, and some restructuring of my work schedule). While my snacks tend to be of the carrots and hummus, or hemp seeds in almond milk, variety, I don't enjoy the feeling of being out of control of them. I'd like to break this habit. Lent is going to be an excellent reason to do so.

My Lent-olution is to have tea every evening after dinner.

Or perhaps, as stated in traditional lent giving up fashion,

'I'm giving up not having tea every night after dinner.'

Since I'm not into cutting out hummus altogether (let's be real: it's the food of the gods), I didn't want to set an intention to give up hummus or never snack, ever. Restriction always backfires, right dieters? Instead, I'm going to add a new habit: something to take up the time and action currently occupied by going to the fridge for carrots, and instead transfer that energy to making tea.

Research shows that we can un-train old habits and build new ones in 21 days. Great! I'll have 19 extra days to practice and solidify what I am looking to do.

My goal is that the habit of preparing a liquid treat (tea! with almond milk!) will get stronger while the pattern of snacking will become weaker, which will lead to new health-supportive evening practices that leave room for the occasional snack without feeling out of control.

With that... Jeffrey, thank you for the inspiration! And remember, all: it's always harder to break old habits than it is to form new ones. The more health-supportive stuff we pack into our habit toolbox, the less room there is for the  behaviors that takes us further from where we want to go.

So -- what can you add (for Lent or for any other time of year) to create new patterns while breaking down old ones?

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