Are people giving something up for Lent or are they giving up on Lent?

Lent is a time of reflection and spiritual preparation, but some may only know the season for Mardi Gras or the smudges on people’s heads from Ash Wednesday.
Everyone finds themselves in a new place, different from last Lent. To many, Lent means 40 days to try something new.
It means 40 days to focus on something other than yourself. When I was little, my mom used to ask me to give something up, and let me tell you how difficult it was to not eat chocolate chip cookies for 40 days.
For many of us that practice, the struggle has carried over into adulthood. Last year I tried to give up swearing — then suddenly I found myself in a cycle of cursing about how I had accidentally cursed.
Father Jim Piszker said focusing on one improvement should be the focus on the Lenten season. “Do something within your means to do it; stay small. Do one thing and do it really well.” Otherwise you’re practically setting yourself up for failure.
I had missed that last year; I set my sights on something I thought would be cool, that I would be proud to accomplish. Easier said than done.
Often, I find myself thinking of what I am not allowed to do and when I can do it, like on Sundays, which are not factored in to Lent’s 40 days.
The whole idea of Lent is to fast, to struggle and to exercise self-control.
What do you get out of Lent if you just find ways to skirt around things?
While Mercyhurst is filled with people of different faiths, which should all be respected, Lenten practices translate across different religions.
That idea got me thinking back to my grade school days when cheesy inspirational posters were printed everywhere.
There was one quote by Mother Teresa, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” That idea stuck with me and it is what I am thinking of now during this Lenten season.
Everyone can do one thing, regardless of your faith. Whoever you are, you can practice just this one part of Lent. For 40 days, let’s try to make the world a better place by doing one thing and doing it well.