Lent: A time to make a fresh start
By Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, senior staff writer
If you’re like most of us, the shine and sparkle is starting to wear off those New Year’s resolutions. About two months in, most people are, to put it bluntly, down and out when it comes to making changes.
The new year starts off with such promise. Viewing it on the horizon, we feel invincible. Of course, I can lose 10 pounds by spring break! Yes, I will read my Bible every day! Clutter will not control me this year; I will be the queen of organization!
You are not alone. Believe me, I feel your pain. It doesn’t take long for us to realize actually doing the things we set out to do is hard.
Change is difficult, and those good changes we long to make are the most difficult of all, in my opinion. Nobody can do that work for us; it’s up to each individual.
I’ve decided to try a slightly different approach this year. Because I want my kids to learn the value of setting goals and taking steps to achieve them, we decided to utilize journals.
Our goal is to not just record our thoughts and dreams, but to plan intentionally to become the people we want to grow into. We each wrote out several overall things we want to achieve in 2020. Each month, we’re writing very specific, detailed goals (take five walks, read two books, bake biscotti, etc.). I encouraged the kids to include some fun things; change shouldn’t be viewed as drudgery.
The smaller the goal, the more achievable. In a nutshell, that seems to be the premise behind “Tiny Habits: Small Changes That Change Everything” by B.J. Fogg, Ph.D. I’ve just started reading this book on behavior and, so far, it’s quite interesting.
Lent, the season of preparation before Easter, is nearly upon us. This year, Lent begins Feb. 26. Many people give up something for Lent in an effort to experience a degree of sacrifice and suffering as Jesus did for us. Some people also do something extra; spend more time in prayer; donate to causes to help those in need.
Lent is a time to start over, to work to improve ourselves, to grow closer to God.
It can be a time of new beginnings, of making a fresh start. Lent can be a way to take stock of where we are, decide where we want to go and lay the groundwork for getting there.
If you feel like your goals for the new year are out the window, I encourage you not to give up. Use Lent as a way to reevaluate where you are and to plan for where you want to be.
Remember, the biggest of changes start with taking the first small step.