8 Things That Aren’t Worth Giving Up for Lent

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It's that special time of the year again when Catholics and non-Catholics alike give up food and other indulgences as a form of penance. Although Lent is intended to commemorate Christ's sacrifices and strengthen one's spiritual life, it has become more or less a second attempt at failed New Year's resolutions and an excuse for a crash diet. Whatever your reasons are for observing Lent, you should think long and hard about the kind of sacrifices you're willing to make and how successful you'll be at following through for the long 40 days and 40 nights.(Photo source: Corbis Images; creative, royalty-free images)

  1. Sweets

    If you've got a sweet tooth and you try to give up all sweets, you're either going to slip up or be incredibly miserable for 40 days, and gorge yourself come Easter morning. Giving up all sweets is unrealistic and a cruel thing to do to your taste buds. Those who dare make this Lenten sacrifice should avoid the dessert section of the grocery store and immediately leave the table after dinner to avoid seeing cookies, cakes, and pies.
  2. Alcohol

    Lent is a time for repentance, prayer, and reflection, but nowhere does it say you cannot have fun, drink an occasional glass of wine, or enjoy a couple of green beers on St. Paddy's Day during Lent. Giving up alcohol for Lent is a challenge for even the most occasional drinkers, who might want to celebrate a birthday or holiday that falls during these 40 days.
  3. Swearing

    Swearing to give up swearing for Lent never really works out like you planned. No matter how hard you try, even minor potty mouths have a hard time holding back from screaming expletives when they stub their toe or watch their favorite sports team lose. It's never a bad idea to watch what you say and scale back on cursing, but trying to cut these words out of your vocabulary altogether is just setting yourself up for failure.
  4. Facebook

    You might think giving up Facebook for Lent is a grand idea, but the chances of you actually abstaining from checking your profile for 40 whole days is pretty slim. For many people, it's second nature to check Facebook as soon as they get on the computer, so they're bound to screw up a couple times and forget they promised to give it up for Lent. If you truly want to give up Facebook and succeed at it, then just delete your profile.
  5. TV

    Unless you live by yourself, giving up TV is incredibly hard to do. Sure, TV is a huge time waster and won't help you grow closer to God, but giving up one of the best forms of relaxation is just plain crazy. You might as well get rid of your TV and never go over to your friends' houses if you're planning on giving up the boob tube.
  6. Sex

    This might ruffle some feathers, but giving up sex for Lent could end up being more disastrous than good. Anyone who's tried it or has seen the romantic comedy 40 Days and 40 Nights knows that celibacy can drive you crazy and make you even more obsessed with the thought of sex than before. If you're in a relationship and both of you aren't on board, then you'd better think long and hard about this one before you decide to go abstinent for 40 days.
  7. Using the word "I"

    I think that not using the word "I" is impossible because I tend to start my sentences by saying I. Well, you get the picture. Abstaining from using "I" can help you think more carefully before you speak, but it's an unrealistic Lenten sacrifice because we're just programmed to say I. Instead of giving up the word "I" for Lent, why not work on being more tactful or a better listener?
  8. Meat

    Going vegetarian during Lent is more than a challenge — it's complete torture for meat eaters. Those who abstain from eating meat may have an even harder time saying no than those who give up sweets, because everywhere you go, meat seems to be the main dish. If you're not ready to take the meatless plunge, why not go easy on yourself and just follow the Catholic tradition of abstaining from eating meat from mammals and fowl on Ash Wednesday and every Friday during Lent?
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