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10 behaviors to give up for Lent

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Lent is the 40-day period from Ash Wednesday to Easter. During this season, Christians are called to journey to the cross with prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

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In many families, something is given up for Lent. Candy was the item of choice to give up for Lent when I was younger. Giving up sin is a better goal for today's Christians.

Pray more frequently as you journey through Lent with Lenten Reflections with Fr. Robert Barron. You can deepen your relationship with God through prayer.

Fasting, the eating of one full meal and two smaller meals as needed with no snacking between meals, is required for Catholics ages 18 to 60 on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, the Friday before Easter.

All who are age 14 and up are required to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and all Fridays during Lent. When I was a child, Catholics abstained from meat on Fridays year round.

Fasting helps you develop self-control. More importantly, fasting links you to those living in poverty for whom fasting is a way of life. Donate the money saved through fasting to the poor as part of your almsgiving.

One of the goals of Lent is to undergo change between Ash Wednesday and Easter. Instead of giving up candy, give up these attitudes and behaviors that lead you into sin and away from God.

Anger is the mirror opposite of love. We are called to love one another in our families, our communities and the world. Turn away from anger and turn toward love.

Impatience creeps into our everyday lives as we interact with family members, coworkers and friends. Turn away from impatience and turn toward patience, joy and happiness.

Intolerance, prejudice and judging are seen everywhere from TV commercials to Facebook status updates. Turn away from judging others, prejudice and intolerance and turn toward tolerance.

Frustration and annoyance can be seen in grocery store lines, on the highway, in the office and maybe in your family. Turn away from frustration and annoyance and turn toward encouragement and joy.

Negativity is something many of us don't realize we're doing. Look within yourself and turn away from negative thoughts and actions as you turn toward being more positive in your dealings with others and yourself.

Sarcasm, belittling and ridicule are hidden forms of anger. Turn away from sarcasm and other disparaging behavior and turn toward love, kindness and respect.

Lying takes many forms from 'little white lies' to major deceitful behavior that damages relationships. Turn away from lying and turn toward honesty and truth.

Blaming and criticizing others is a way we take the focus off our own behavior. Turn away from blaming and turn toward approval and thanksgiving.

Selfishness, greed and thanklessness cause you to turn away from the love for others that God asks us to share. Turn away from selfish behavior and turn toward gratitude and appreciation.

Arguing and bickering happens in many families, especially between siblings. Turn away from arguing and turn toward harmony and making peace within your family and with your coworkers and friends.

Lent is a time for change. By changing negative behaviors, you choose to turn away from sin and turn toward God. Work together as a family to see where these negative behaviors are creeping into your interactions as you journey through Lent to the promise of Easter.

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