Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bad Habits & Lent

Today is "Ash Wednesday" which is also the first official day of Lent.    Every year since I was little, I would try to "give" up a few things and some years I would be successful whereas other years I would "cheat" here and there.    This year I am taking Lent with a different approach.  Rather than giving up things on a temporary basis, I am approaching this holiday as a way to cleanse myself of some bad habits that need a good kick in the butt.

Jessica and bad habits?  Yes it is true, I have some very bad habits that I need to break/fix.  I thought by me blogging about them and sharing them with my readers will empower me to A. not cheat and B. take this seriously.  So here they are.

1.  Chocolate.  I am giving up chocolate for Lent.  All types of chocolate.  White chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and Nutella (yes it deserves it's own category).  

The reasons I am giving up chocolate are:
  • I happen to have a huge sweet tooth.  Dessert is my favorite food group and it is nearly impossible for me to every pass up anything with chocolate, ever. Just ask my brother and father.  Anytime a dessert is ordered at a restaurant, I am immediately consulted on what to order (since I am almost always the only one that wants dessert all the time and rarely pass up opportunities to have it), but whenever I do eat dessert, I scarf it down leaving not a spot of evidence dessert was even served.  My mom and my sister also love dessert and usually help eat whatever I ordered.   I also grew up in a household that had sweets in it all the time since we wanted to "fatten up" my brother any way we could. (he had the fastest metabolism and could eat anything and everything without gaining a pound!) 
  • My dad does not have much of a sweet tooth and rarely eats desserts or candies.  So my bad habit is partly due to my mom, since she has a sweet tooth herself and inherently passed her sweet tooth to her daughters (thanks mom!).   
  • I eat chocolate almost every day.  I love Nutella and toast for breakfast.  I constantly have peanut butter M&M's at my desk and my pantry at home always has some sort of cookies in it.  The thing is, I think I am addicted to sweets, especially chocolate and it's time I tame this sweet tooth.   

2.  iPhone.  My cell phone is my life and I know for a fact that I am addicted to it.  Between Twitter, Facebook Alerts, Foursquare, Words with Friends, Pinterest, email accounts, and text messaging- I have a lot of distractions and things on my phone that keep my phone busy.

Lately, I have realized that my phone also exhausts me.  Exhausts me in the sense that I am always juggling the things happening on my phone and what is going on right in front of me.  Whether I am in a board meeting, having drinks/dinner with friends, or sitting at home with my boyfriend, I have the "urge" and almost "guilty" feeling to check my phone.  I shouldn't have these feelings nor guilt.   I need to be in the moment and not distracted or "addicted" to my phone.  I need to learn how to not be "so accessible" every waking minute.    Bethenny Frankel is my role model in this actually.  She recently relaunched her Bethenny Ever After Show on Bravo on Monday and in her opening episode she talked about her phone and her new habit of not having her phone out when she is with others.  She feels the exact same way I do and gets anxiety that she might be missing something or someone might be trying to get a hold of me that could be urgent.   I know something urgent is unlikely to happen but I take comfort knowing that my phone is right next to me at all times in case I do miss an important call or something.   

So starting now, I am going to have my phone in my purse when I am out with friends or others.  My phone will not be on the kitchen table when I am eating dinner with my boyfriend.   I will not be on my phone after 11pm, because I should be winding down or asleep not on Twitter or Words with Friends!  I am going to be in the moment and not feel like I have to constantly check my phone or feel like I have to respond to a tweet or text as soon as it is received.  It will be there when I check my phone and it is okay to take a few hours to respond.   

3.  Read Two Books.  Unfortunately this is not a joke.  My goal is to read two books start to finish by the time lent is over.  The books are yet to be determined but as soon as I pick them, I will definitely let you know.  Over the past year, I have purchased at least 5 books and have yet to pick any one of them up! This is one of my bad habits and a habit I need to fix.

The reason for this is because I love to read, but making time for myself to sit down and read a book NEVER happens.  Remember when I blogged months and months ago about Eat Pray Love?  Well I am still reading that book.  I think I am finally half-way done with it.  How sad is that?  The time I try to read is at the very end of a day and I usually get through one to three pages before I am literally falling asleep while reading.   This causes a problem in itself because I usually didn't comprehend what I read and have to re-read those three pages the next time I pick up the book (which could be days later).   During the times I could read a book, I choose to do other things instead, like go on social media or watch something on TV.  Not anymore because I have two books that I must start and finish by the time Lent is over.  Let the reading begin!

As I start off on day #1 of Lent, I already know this is going to be tough for me.  I know I am going to be tempted by delicious deserts at events I attend and I will try to rationalize with myself like ("Jess you may never get to try this particular dessert ever again or it's a special occasion and it would be "rude" to not eat the birthday dessert") when I know I cannot cheat.  Reading is going to be especially challenging because I will be tempted to want to watch something on Netflix or TV or even on my phone instead of sitting down and reading.   But I will not give in and I will not cheat.   I want to be tempted and have these be challenges for myself since that is a big part of Lent.   I also know that these are bad habits that I need to break and work on and I could not think of a better time to start.

So wish me luck and I will definitely keep you posted on my progress!

What are some of your bad habits?  Have you tried every breaking any of them?  Are you giving anything up for Lent? I would love to hear from you.

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