With all those delicious pancakes behind us, today, for many, will have been about the start of Lent and 40 days of giving something up… or starting.
I was reflecting on this last night. As you may know, the theory of positive behaviour change says you’re more likely to succeed if you start something new rather than give something up. It’s all about starting something, rather than a focus on stop.
I have no intention of hijacking Lent and changing its religious meaning. This is something I’d never want to do as I have given things up in the Christian way many year previous! I am going to start something rather than stop something for Lent this year. It’s going to be something that will make me a better person and able to give more to others.
I have lost the regularity of kettlebells, medicine balls and the dreaded but wonderful plank over the last year. This is mainly down to constant 13 hour plane journeys related to a a couple of wonderful international clients. I do a lot of running (running shoes are always in the case first) and a bit of pilates in my seat but that’s about it (and yes, I do get weird looks).
So, I’m going to start it again – 40 mins of every other day. A positive action. That’s my Lent commitment. I guess you could say I’ll have to stop something to start this (e.g. stopping work 40 minutes earlier. But no, I’m going to focus on the fact I’m starting something that will give me huge benefits. Then I know I’ll keep it going. In fact I started today and had a fabulous idea pop into my head to advance a client problem in-between the ‘lifts’ and actually did way more than I thought I’d be able to do – thus multiple benefits.
There’s a lot of behaviour science behind this thinking. When we’re focused on positive action (rather than painful restriction!), no matter how small, we are destined for better success. We see it in the organisations and individuals we work with frequently. The accumulation of many positive actions, changes in daily habits to do something extra, have transformed organisations.
What about you?
What have you given up for Lent? Is there an associated positive action you could focus on to help you stick to it?
If Lent wasn’t on your radar, why not take the opportunity to focus on starting something over the next 40 days? It could deliver a big benefit for you and others long after that.