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40 Days for Becoming a Better Person

14 February 2010 Written by: Jorge Lazaro Diaz 5 Comments
40 Days for Becoming a Better Person

If you read my Love Dare article from a year back you’ll see how I dedicated 40 days last Spring to improving my marriage. It’s not that it was on the rocks and in bad need of repair. I just wanted to take a good thing and make it better.

In my Novena article I talk about a 9 day practice I followed to help get me re-focused and balanced. There are times when I get way out of whack and I need something like this to bring me back. I wrote about it again in Five Steps for Beating the Christmas Bah Humbug Job Seeker Blues this past December.  I committed myself to 20 minutes of quiet time a day for the 20 days leading up to Christmas.  My goal there was to make it my best Christmas ever.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not trying to make the world Catholic (though it might not be such a bad thing).  I’m just sharing these church rituals or tradition with you.  If it wasn’t for them, I’d probably never spend several days in a row doing anything consistently to improve myself. I just don’t have the discipline and structure in my life.

Now that my daughters attend college near New Orleans, I know exactly when the Catholic Lenten season begins.  They make a habit of visiting there for Mardi Gras this time of year.  Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday, a day of excess (and an awful lot of craziness) preceeding Ash Wednesday.  That’s the day that kicks off Lent.  On Ash Wednesday everyone’s  supposed to begin the 40 day penitential season that ends with Easter Sunday.

Now I’m not sure what the party crowds visiting New Orleans do post Mardi Gras, but the idea of Lent’s a good one. Some people get hung up on the word sacrifice, but the point is to give up stuff or better yet take something on that makes you a better person.  If you commit to doing something “different” for the 40 days, it’s likely to become a habit that extends well past the 40 days.

So here is yet another one of my public declaration (blogs are a great way to hold yourself accountable) where I set out to do something and I hope you keep me honest.

I’m getting out of shape.  You’ll probably noticed from reading Career Jockey that I do plenty of exercise.  I’ve run and trained others for marathons and make Yoga a part of my routine.  Well truth be told, I’ve been slacking big time and I’m starting to feel it.  I had gone up about 10 pounds.  I have reclaimed five of them if this morning’s weigh in was accurate, but still not sleeping well and stress and anxiety tend to creep up more.

So here’s what I’m doing.  I’m OK on the spiritual side using SacredSpace: The Prayer Book 2010daily.  I’ll leave that alone.  (You can read about that one at Weakness and Vulnerability May Be Your Biggest Strength.)  So my Lenten sacrifice (I just have to use the Catholic name for it) is to return to a consistent exercise schedule where I run or practice Yoga five days a week.  I’ve been a runner so long that part’s easy.  For the Yoga I’ll either follow one of the pose sequences I’ve collected over the years or follow along with one of Yoga Today’s online classes.  (I don’t get a dime for passing you on to Yoga Today.   I’ve been following them for years.  They have quality stuff and constantly improve the site and the Yoga content the offer.)

So here’s my question to you.  Those of you that are Catholic (fallen away or otherwise), what are you doing this Lenten season?  Let’s compare notes in the comment section below.  Those of you with other slants (either Jewish, Protestant, Hindu, no slant, whatever…we’ll keep it a secret), what are you wanting to do these upcoming 40 days so you become a better persona than you are today?

Jorge Lazaro Diaz

Jorge Lazaro Diaz is the "Original" Career Jockey who started this blog and now serves as the Managing Editor. You'll find he enjoys focusing on professional and personal development articles and frequently covers motivational and spiritual topics.

You can learn so much about this author by clicking here.


  • Julio Ponce said:

    You gave me something to think about. I’ve been too busy this year and had almost forgotten Lent started tomorrow. I really should do something more serious than nothing at all. Thanks for keeping me honest.

  • George Gutierrez said:

    It’s a good idea to make a goals for yourself health wise and spiritually, but this should be on our mind every year so that we can grow as a person an as Christian. The closer we are in communication with him the better we can understand what he does for us on a daily basis therefore improving our daily live.

  • Roger Lopez said:

    I will start by attending mass tomorrow on Ash Wednesday; rekindle my actions in thanking God for what he has done for my family and me, pray for those that are in great need and assist others in their time of need.

  • uberVU - social comments said:

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  • Laura Marks said:

    I’ve been soul-searching and mentally filing the do’s an don’t’s for Lent myself and wondering what to give up… however, since going on Weight Watchers last year, I’ve given up almost everything already.
    Your note on “doing something” v. not doing something has struck a good note in my mind. I’ve taken up praying more lately, driven, of course, by something drastic as is most often the case, but have found myself giving thanks, more often than not.
    Taking the few minutes to converse with God occasionally (regardless of which incarnation a person chooses) allows you the mental space and “silence” that is rarely afforded us in our complex lives. Regardless of what form your (the universal “You”) prayer takes, try it over the next 30+ days. I can only hope to come out the other side a better person, but if I can be a better human being, it’s worth those precious minutes.

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