What are you giving up for Lent?

February 3, 2008 | 36 comments

Lent is just a few days away. I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to give up. I’d love to hear others’ thoughts.


  1. Geoffrey

    Check my blog. I just put up a new post on fasting, with recommendations.

  2. will

    I’m giving up peanuts/peanut butter; and I’m going to do the Office of Readings at noon (or thereabouts) every day.

    Peanuts because I’m on a low-carb diet and I tend to rely on peanuts a bit too much as a snack. No point in giving up something if it’s no loss.

  3. Adoro te Devote

    Last night I answered this question by saying, “I’m giving up sin.”

    One woman exclaimed, “THAT’S a sin!” (I think she was referring to Pride.)

    My response: “I haven’t started YET!”

    OK, seriously, I haven’t decided but I’d LIKE to give up sin. We’ll see how that goes.

  4. MHL

    Iced tea. As a southerner, this will be difficult, but everybody tells me water is better for me anyway.

  5. Tienne

    I always try to do something that’s going to bring me closer to God. There’s no point for me to give up chocolate if all I’m doing is pining away for chocolate and counting the days till Easter bring chocolate eggs and chocolate bunnies and chocolate frosted cake.

    I think I’m going to try giving up secular reading. Anytime I sit down, I want it to be with something that’s going to uplift my soul and turn my thoughts to God. Of course, I think I’ll have to give up TV as well, otherwise I’ll just sit down in front of the TV instead of sitting down with the Bible!

  6. Milehimama

    I’m thinking about giving up ice.

    It’s a small thing, but also something that I will come back to again and again and again to remind me of Lent.

  7. Clavem Abyssi

    I might be wrong about this but I don’t think it’s a sin to vow not to sin. Being shocked when you sin might be indicative of a prideful spirit, though.

    I’m giving up meat and lunch, as well as any fancy seafood meals. (my szechuan shrimp stirfry is no penance)

    I’m also planning on reading the lectionary readings during lunch in the place of eating, which is something one ought to do anyways, but I never do, so I’ll attempt that.

  8. Jane M

    I always give up chocolate and I really dislike people who think this is small. My kids give up computer games which is quite a sacrifice for them. (They have to use it for school still.) My husband gave up coffee once and I forbade him to do it again, it was so hard on the rest of us. Sometimes I clean out the pantry, serving something that’s getting lost in the back because we don’t like it, every Friday. Some years I have managed better so we can’t do that. This year looks like a freezer year, actually. My mother said that her worst year was the one where she vowed to get the breakfast dishes done by nine a.m. every morning. There were nine kids just by the by. Just some ideas…

  9. TwoSquareMeals

    I just wrote a post about that and linked to a Lenten blog carnival where you may get more good thoughts on the subject.

    Thanks for chiming in so much on my contraception dialog. I am by no means done thinking through the issue.

  10. Matt

    Traditional Byzantine fast like Geoffrey above. No meat, eggs, or dairy for the whole shooting match.

    In the East we have Meatfare two weeks before lent starts (i.e. last Sunday) after which we give up meat for the rest of Lent. Then we have Cheesefare, which was tonight, after which we give up the eggs and dairy. I’m trying an old Monastic tradition this year, trying to not eat anything from Cheesfare vespers (from which I just returned home) till after Presanctified Liturgy on Wednesday night. We’ll see how that goes.

    Oh, and also blogging and reading blogs after right…now.

    Blessed Lent everyone! See you at Pascha!


  11. JB

    Shopping…online shopping, retail therapy, shoe shopping…I may buy only groceries and the occasional birthday present. I know it sounds silly, but I shop a lot, and it is a big source of waste and vanity because there is truly nothing I NEED. And, I’m gonna try to go to daily Mass (read: at least twice weekly) and Friday Stations. Whew.

  12. allyouwhohope

    Instead of giving up something I’m going to try to work on having patience, so I guess you could say I’m giving up impatience (I just posted about how I will attempt to do this). It’s going to be tough, but for some reason I have will power during Lent that I just can’t muster the rest of the year.

  13. shadowsgrey

    I don’t give up anything for Lent, I will be going to Mass every morning.

  14. Stephanie

    Sugar and fast food, and I’m adding a daily rosary. 🙂

  15. Courageous Grace


    I had to cut out my caffeine addiction during my pregnancy, and think I’m finally going to be able to cut out soda. I should be drinking more water, milk, and juice, ESPECIALLY since I’m breastfeeding, and not rely so much on soda, although I love the taste. So far I’ve cut it down to 1 can a day, so I’ll see how well I can do without it during Lent. The good news is that the money I had spent on soda (getting all the more expensive, even the diet kind not made with corn syrup) can now go toward diapers 😉

  16. Meredith from Merchant Ships

    I am seriously considering giving up blogging for Lent.

    It’s feeling more and more self-indulgent to me than anything else I do in a day.

  17. Rebekka

    I’ve been thinking about this. I haven’t totally decided yet, but I’m leaning towards giving up hissy fits.

  18. SteveG

    I am going to fast each morning and forego breakfast.

    I am going to attend mass at least three days a week (in addition to Sunday).

    I am going to give up my harsh tone with my wife and kids when I am tired or stressed and speak gently at all times.

  19. Jessica

    I’ve decided I’m giving up the Internet (except on Sundays) and Days of Our Lives.

  20. Martin

    I gave up coffee last year … that was a tough one for me.

    This year, I plan on adding evening devotions to my daily prayer. I’ve had a hard time routinely doing those like I should.

  21. DeeDee

    Like jb, I will have to give up retail therapy for sure. Good-bye, thrift stores! Sigh.
    Also restricting my time on the computer. A limit of 1 hour in the morning and just checking email at night is going to be a challenge.
    I’ll have meat only once a day, and not at all on Wednesdays & Fridays.
    Giving up coffee in the mornings, to be replaced with tea. (Can’t give up caffeine altogether!)
    Adding the daily rosary and a 40-day meditation on St. Andrew’s Canon.
    Spiritually, I need to learn to forgive everyone I love completely. For every time I have ever had my feelings hurt, been ignored, forgotten, insulted or “teased.” I must learn to forgive. Because Christ forgave every one of His torturers. And He forgives me.

  22. tonda

    This is great! I could not decide on what to give up and I don’t know why a drink other than alcohol did not occur to me until I read some of the post here. So I decided I will give up milk. I love love milk. I’d rather have a glass of milk for a meal then eat. So it is something I will have to keep in mind daily not to reach for.
    Oh and Adoro te Devote, LOL! How funny. I did have to LOL.

  23. Jennifer F.

    My husband and I were going to give up complaining…and ever since we threw out that idea I’ve found myself complaining all the time to “get it out of my system” before Lent. Ridiculous. It makes me think that I need to work on not complaining more than just at Lent. 🙂

  24. SWP

    I always give up chocolate and desserts. And I shave my beard to strike at my vanity.

    This year, I want to cultivate purity. I have some books about virtue, chastity, and marriage to pursue during Lent.

    My goal is to pray the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin every day. I will also be be pursuing a Wednesday and Friday bread fast, in the style of Medjugorje. This usually results in my overeating on Saturday, so I will try to temper it with dinner on Wednesday night.

  25. scmom (Barbara)

    A friend wrote on her blog today, “I’ve been spending a lot of time filling requests, rather than genuinely serving.”

    It was a lightbulb moment for me. While I’ll still give up my annual Lenten sacrifice of diet soda, I will also strive to serve. I will attempt to be as Mary to Jesus, not as Martha. Not to fill requests begrudgingly, but to serve with love. No more, “In a minute!” I will happily fulfill my vocation, even when I’m tired and stressed. My chores will be my “little ways” of pleasing God.

  26. Sarah L.

    I am giving up surfing the internet. I will still be checking email, but will alert my friends and family not to send me any more links. I will use all this newfound time to do more spiritual reading and to play with my children more.

  27. Irene

    I am not Catholic, but Old Russian Orthodox. During our lent, we do not choose what we want to give up. Instead, we are all supposed to give up eating anything that comes from an animal during the entire lenten period (not just Fridays). This includes all meats, fish and dairy products. It is tough, but actually quite healthy if you think about it!! Of course, if you have health issues, or are pregnant or nursing, exceptions can always be made.

    We also are supposed to live a much more quiet life – Like no music, dancing , tv, etc. I think we also supposed to abstain from sex as well.

    It may sound impossible to follow so many restrictions, but you have to admit, it definitely ensures you will not forget that it is lent. Day in and day out, the restrictions of our lent pervade every single aspect of your life ensuring you lead a much more healthy and (hopefully) spiritual life.

    I have never followed our lenten restrictions completely. Not many people do nowadays. I think my grandfather used to. I do abstain from all meat. And I try not to drink milk and other dairy products, although keeping cheese out of your diet is really hard.

    Anyway, I don’t expect you to follow our lenten guidelines, but I thought it may be interesting information to share.

    In our church, the lenten season and Easter is far and away the most holy time of the year.

  28. FG

    Embarrassingly, I’m giving up … swearing. I do tend to do too much of it, and we’re all so miserable where I work that my co-workers are giving me no chance.

    I do intend to go to daily Mass and confession more often, to not screw up meatless Fridays like I did last year, and work through my Thomas Merton Lenten reflections book. Last year I went on a disastrous trip at the beginning of Lent (that was certainly penance); I’d brought the Merton along, had to stop, and couldn’t bring myself to pick it up again when I got home. This year, I will.

  29. Tausign

    I really feel a need to deal with poor self-control issues; especially with food. In addition to the regular fasting rules I’m giving up coffee for lent and also quit eating any evening snacks after dinner until breakfast the next morning.

    Forgive me for making this unsolicited comment; but giving up bad or sinful behavior is not a sacrifice or ‘penance’. The ‘penance’ is the MEANS you use to eliminate the unwanted behavior. We give up things that are ‘licit and pleasing’…to grow spiritually and confront or conquer sin or bad habits. For more of an explanation try this: http://tau-cross.blogspot.com/2007/11/more-we-renounce-ourselves.html

    An extreme example to drive home my point: If you have a habit of slapping someone in the face…you can’t say…I’ll quit slapping you for lent.

  30. Kelly

    I’m giving up Coke and chocolate, my two favorite forms of food therapy. I used to just pick one to give up, but at a certain point I had to admit that I just doubled up on the other, so now they’re both out.

    I try to convince myself that that a nice cup of decaf tea is what I really wanted . . .

  31. Rebecca

    I am ashamed to say that I am giving up bumming cigarettes at work. It will be tough on high stress days, but I think I can do it.

  32. Aimee (Studying Catholicism)

    My husband and I have both picked one thing and decided to do them together. We are giving up television and sweets except on Sundays. In addition to this, when possible, we’re going to try to do morning and evening prayers and do them together. It’s my first time actually participating in Lent. I’m really excited!

  33. foursure

    I’m giving up my contact lenses. I’ll be wearing my glasses instead. Working on my humility and I want a real reminder of that. (Added penance is that I don’t own prescription sunglasses.)

    Will be adding morning prayers.

  34. Jennifer F.

    Irene – that is very interesting, thanks for sharing.

    Tausign – Good point. I realized after I wrote my comment that that would not be a good candidate for something to give up for Lent.

    I think someone else recently left a comment asking for suggestions for the final Lent before becoming Catholic, but I can’t find it now. Sorry!

  35. Leticia

    I’m going to take better care of myself, eat more veggies (no sweets) and get into a prayer and exercise habit I can stick with after Lent is over.

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