Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lent intentions

I hope you are all having a lovely.....Vacation Week?  I guess this is a New England thing, but apparently schools here have one week of vacation in February and one in April - at home, ours was always 2 weeks in March.  Anyway, everyone at work is gone this week, and I'm going a little loopy here all by myself!

I'm not Catholic, but my boyfriend is, and my Dad's side of the family is, too.  Brendan and I have been going to Catholic church since he got out of the hospital, so I'm tuned in to the Catholic traditions a bit more.  Lent was never something we "celebrated" at my (Lutheran) church at home, but I thought it probably isn't a bad idea!  I could give up any of the typical things people give up....

...but instead, I would like to do something more positive with my 40 days.  So for Lent this year, I'm giving up negativity and pessimism.

I find that I often beat myself up over little things - things I can't control, or things that really aren't that big of a deal.  As someone who struggles with anxiety, and as a perfectionist, it's hard not to!  But it holds me back and keeps me from doing what I am capable of, and that is what I'd like to change.  Here's my plan for Lent - hold me to it!

Week 1: Be open.  I'd like to talk to people more, try to make small talk (yes, I'm the awkward type and don't usually "chat" with people), and smile often.  Be open to interactions with people, and be aware of any negative thoughts that creep in - remember these for next week!
Week 2: Replace negative thoughts.  I will be mindful of the thoughts that arrive in my head, and if negative, make an effort to replace them.
Week 3: Catch up with a friend.  I miss my friends from high school, college, and grad school - the ones I have kept up with are few in number, but very precious to me.  I haven't chatted with a few of them for a while now - I will make an effort
Week 4: Calm. Down.  When faced with adversity, I typically panic.....the negative thoughts flood in and I go into a spiral of doom that's hard to get out of.  If this happens, I will try to repeat my mantra (sounds silly, but repeating "It's ok" in my head really does help), and picture myself calmer....hopefully this can become a habit!
Week 5: Challenge myself physically.  As of the end of March, I will have been going to the gym regularly (at least 3x/week) for 6 months, and making a good habit of it (5x/week or more) for 3 months. I will have just completed a 5K race and will be looking toward a 5-miler, but I think it will be about time to step it up a bit!  I'll think about what this will entail when I get a little closer, but trying a new class, making myself work harder in the classes I do, etc. should do it.  Accomplishing something harder physically will make me see my progress more clearly.
Weeks 6-7 Challenge myself intellectually and spiritually.  Two goals for these weeks: 1) Read 1 new paper a week for work, and 2) Do at least 3 random acts of kindness.

In conjunction with these small goals, I will also be doing the "40 Day Challenge" at my gym, which involves metabolism evaluations, nutrition counseling, and fitness challenges.  I want to keep up my progress at the gym and try to figure this food stuff out!  I have a sneaking suspicion that my birth control isn't helping with this weight loss thing, but I will wait to test out that hypothesis until later.

So that's it for today, but I'll be posting about yummy Easter food soon!  You'll notice I didn't give up chocolate for Lent.....I don't think I'd be able to avoid Cadbury eggs for 40 days!

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