Flipping Lent

Today is Pancake Day and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be absolutely gorging on my favourite food late into the evening!

And as a result, here we are at the beginning of Lent. That period where people want to give up something for 40 days; subjecting themselves to ongoing battles with the Prince of Darkness and his armoury of temptations.

If you are someone who connects with the religious significance of that – then all power to you. Despite my rather liberal Catholic upbringing, I have to admit that it’s not for me,  but I do see that there is a fundamental human desire for periods of  reflection & perseverance in our aims. In that vein, I see the value of a 40 Day ‘Getting to know & improve you’ programme. Hence the title 🙂

This may be a period to make a fundamental change within yourself or your situation which you’ve been meaning to do for some time. Give yourself 40 days to really get to know what it is you want to change & why you want to do it.  Associate with it. Reflect upon it. Then do something about it.

Some people make notes of when when they feel good or bad about their particular situation(s). This can be good. Without something tangible to review we can either over focus on the negative or the positive aspects of what we do. And so, we have no systemic view. Notes or diaries allow us to recognise the bad and to build on the good. It can be a revelation to find how much of what we do is formed by habit. Change the habit and change the situation.

40 days is a realisitic amount of time to begin to embrace the change and start to build a new set of habits to support what you want. Coining the SMART business model: (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Resources [available to you], Timebound [40]) you can be SMART for 40 days 🙂

Of course, the Devil will raise his horn-ed head from time to time.  That’s absolutely natural. Titillating & testing, simultaneously.

Wicked habits and old ways are hard to break and they can lull you back in at your weakest moment – most likely, (& for some strange reason) when you’re just on a good stretch.  A lot of time and effort has gone into living the old way. It will take perseverance and a trick or two to live the improved way.

These disruptive times are called ANTs (in the trade!) = Automatic Negative Thoughts and they appear specifically at difficult moments.

At these times, re-engage & remember what you are doing and for what purpose. Don’t beat yourself up about what you haven’t done (has it ever worked before?!) Instead, congratulate yourself on what you have done and build on your strengths. It should help you to re-connect and to continue with your plan 🙂 (see Momentum Matters)

One way of dealing with ANTs is to visualise stomping them out đź™‚ For some people, a physical act of stomping the ground when ANTs appear is a tangible way of course correcting an old habit. Horses for courses, but you get the idea. Do what works for you.

Spring is knocking! A great time to embrace change 🙂

Michael Laffey Life Coach, Michael Laffey, Life Coach