I grew up in a religious household. We went to the methodist church almost every week. I went to Sunday School. I was confirmed in the church. I taught Sunday School for several years. Yet, we were more of the “relaxed” religious family than the “extreme” religious family…if that make sense. Thanks to that more relaxed belief, I’ve never felt any pressure from my religion.
Anyway, what I’m getting at is that giving up something for Lent has always been a choice. At this point in my life where I haven’t gone to church on a regular basis in several years, I couldn’t tell you if we actually believe is giving something up for Lent. This year, however, I’ve made the decision to use Lent as on an opportunity to set some short term goals with personal development/improvement in mind. I’m calling it “40 Days of Freedom” in a round-about way of skirting the religious aspect. Drum roll please…
40 Days of Freedom
- Good-bye Starbucks – You may remember that I’ve tried to give up Starbucks before and failed rather quickly but, this time I’m serious. My dependency on Starbucks is more of a comfort than an actual enjoyment. It’s like my version of comfort food. On days where I think it’s going to be a rough day at work, I stop for Starbucks first. On days where I want to relax, I grab my favorite drink at Starbucks. I need to go without Starbucks for awhile. If not to reduce my dependency on it as a comfort “food”, then to reduce my spending. My regular drink at Starbucks costs $4.27 with tax…cheap by Starbucks standards. Sometimes I get a different drink that costs more or add a pastry to my order. This brings my total weekly spending at Starbucks anywhere from $12 to $25. That’s ridiculous. So Starbucks makes the top spot on the list. I will go 40 days without Starbucks.
- Commit to a Workout Schedule – Vacation has come and gone and so has my resolve to workout hardcore. I started working out in late December and kicked it into high gear (twice a day workouts 3-4 times a week) in January to prep for a beach vacation. That vacation was last week and I lost a decent amount of weight before we left. I also gained very little weight while on vacation. However, with vacation went my resolve to workout….actually it started the week before vacation but, whatever. I really enjoyed working out and eating healthy because I felt good. I was really feeling the benefits and it felt great. I need to keep up with that and commit to a schedule to keep me on track. This means working out for a minimum of one hour at least three days a week. My best friend and I are starting an hour long KickFit class next Monday and she’s joined my gym so we’ve made plans to go after work together (we also work together so, that helps…I think). So, three days shouldn’t be too hard and I’m actually hoping to push this one to at four days on the weeks where I have the time available. I will workout for a minimum of one hour at least three times a week during the 40 days and commit to a lasting workout schedule.
- Control Excessive Spending – I’ve been doing pretty well with my money management lately but, I could certainly do better. My savings has pretty much depleted a little over a year ago and I’ve gradually been building that back up but, there are a few things I want that will require more savings. A lot of money I spend gets categorized as “Dining Out” and “Entertainment” in my monthly budget. I need to focus on spending on necessities and saving instead of on excessive or unnecessary items. This means looking at my budget and rearranging my allocations….less on excess, more on savings. My hiatus from Starbucks will certainly help and I’ve reduced my monthly fitness spending by joining a new gym that is much less expensive than my prior gym. Those aren’t enough, though. I will control my excessive spending on unnecessary items including dining out which I will limit to no more than twice a week during the 40 days.
- Kick Procrastination to the Curb – I have a stack of books to read, a mental list of projects and goals that seem like pipe dreams. I need to stop procrastinating on all of those things and fill my time with fulfilling my mind (oh man…that was kind of lame but, I’ll stick with it). My procrastination isn’t really me saying “I’ll do it later.” It’s more of me saying “I don’t have time.” or “I can’t possibly do that.” I need to give myself a little more credit and really start working with what I have and completing those things that I want to do for myself. I’m a list maker so, it’s time to make a list, prioritize and plan. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or fighting back with a defeatist attitude, I need to just go for it. I will stop procrastinating and explore those things that I’ve been only thinking about, working towards a sustainable plan during the 40 days.
- Be Adventurous – I really enjoy cooking and baking but, I tend to shy away from trying new recipes. Every once in awhile I build up the confidence to try something new and just go for it but, it tends to take a lot. I worry about the cost of the ingredients, it not tasting good or coming out like it should and then having wasted the money on a failed recipe. I need to let myself be adventurous and allow myself the possibility of failing. If I don’t try, I won’t know so I need to try. I will try four new recipes within the 40 days.
So that it…five goals for 40 days. Lent officially ends on April 23 but, I’m working towards making these sustainable goals that will last well past the 40 days. I’ll keep you posted.