Giving up harmful goods great for healthy living

Lent is one-fourth of the way over. That’s 10 days closer to Easter and only 30 more of “torture” for those of us who have given something up.

I haven’t been a practicing Catholic for a while now, and the last time I attended Mass was about four years ago on Easter.

But for some reason, I still choose to give something up each year.

For most, giving something up is a means of religious sacrifice, somehow bringing them closer to Jesus by not having something they really enjoy.

I’ve never seen it like that.

For me, it’s always been an excuse to better myself, having nothing much to do with religion other than using Lent as a starting point.

It’s like a New Year’s resolution, only better because it’s like a 40-day trial.

If you don’t like it, you can go back to your old habits. If you find it’s not that bad, you can keep going.

This year is a little different.

I’ve changed the rules a little.

Every year since I can remember, I’ve given up soda.

It used to work, but if I’ve learned anything about college, it’s that nothing helps an all-nighter like a Diet Dr. Pepper.

So, instead of giving up soda completely, I’ve decided I can still drink it, just not as much.

And in place of all of that soda is water, since I rarely get the recommended eight glasses per day.

Everyone has something they’d like to change about themselves – like drinking more water or less soda or eating fewer sweets to be healthier.

Or not spending so much time on Facebook to be more productive. Maybe it’s cleaning more or giving to charity more often.

But instead of changing ourselves once we decide there’s something to change, we wait around for an excuse.

We need catalysts like New Year’s resolutions or giving things up for Lent.

I can’t count the mornings I’ve woken up ready to change my life thinking, “This is the day I change my life. This is the day I start (fill in the blank),” and then end the day by promising myself tomorrow will be the day.

It’s like people who never give up smoking until they can no longer breathe.

They might have known it was bad for them, maybe even known it was killing them, but kept going because they don’t know how to change.

Why can’t we just do something good for ourselves without something to instigate our positive actions?

Is it because we like to take the easy way out? Or is it because it’s hard to find the motivation to do something good? Maybe it’s inertia.

Instead of letting life’s motion take us where it will until the next big life-changing holiday, we should learn to take the initiative.

Like the famous quote, “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today?”

Especially if it helps us in the long run.