Lent 2024: Break Free and Embrace a New You

Giving up the Old You for Lent 2024

Say hello to a new you

As Lent 2024 dawns, many of us contemplate giving up something: chocolate, social media, maybe even that snooze button. But let’s face it, traditional willpower-driven sacrifice often fizzles out by Easter Sunday. We CAN do better than that. Not only can we change some negative habits, but we can also transform ourselves. Let’s get into it.

As a kid, I always used to love Easter. Far from the deeper spiritual meaning enjoyed by my parents, from my youthful perspective, it meant only one thing… tons of chocolate. There was this thing that some adults were doing that I was vaguely aware of, though. They called it “Lent,” and for my mother in particular, it meant an absence of chocolate for forty days.

This was something I absolutely couldn’t fathom, but it seemed important to the adults. The forty days leading up to Easter were a time of throwing away the old you, of dumping bad habits, or burning off deadwood and letting things go. Before we get into the new you side of things, let’s look at the first step… habit removal.

The thing I was failing to understand was that they were using some rather clever group psychology to put an end to bad habits both of thought and behavior. Rather than a “white-knuckle” solo approach, they were using communal pressure, group spirit, and even spiritual belief as a route to self-improvement.

This is how they did it: They would decide on a habit that absolutely needed to go upon the trash heap of history. Matching the kid’s chocolate consumption is a classic example of a habit that needed to die, so they might set that as a goal. Then, they would go to their community to announce their goal. In their case, that community was the church.

It was widely expected by most churchgoers that you would give something up, and so “What are you giving up for Lent?” was a question to be expected. For the sake of total embarrassment, you had better have an answer. “Swearing” was the answer my dad gave one year, and I had to giggle as my poor old father had to force himself to say “Oh bother” instead of the colourful expletives he was used to hurling around. He managed it, though. The entire community would see to that.

Still, all I saw was chocolate.

Oh, it’s so delicious, and yet I won’t touch it… for 40 days.

The funny thing is, I now see the point of it all: My generous belly informs me that “tons of chocolate” is not ideal as a dietary staple, and my years of consumption of that yummy brown delicacy have carved out a sweet-toothed habit that simply doesn’t want to go anywhere.

So, Lent 2024 is upon us, and I have resolved to get healthy, slim, and athletic. Borrowing, then from this tradition, we can ask Sigmund Freud, of all people, to explain how social pressure works.

Lent 2024 and the Superego: the Social Pressure Way

Sigmund Freud’s concept of the superego represents our internalized sense of morality, often influenced by societal expectations and external judgments. We imagine disapproval from peers, family, or even God (in religious contexts) when we violate these internalized rules. This “internal policeman” can be a powerful motivator for good behavior.

This is so much more powerful than simply going it alone. After all, if you are accountable to nobody but yourself, the temptation to sink into your old ways when nobody is looking might just get the better of you.

The Public Superego: Amplifying the Pressure:

Taking your self-improvement goals public taps into the power of the public superego. By announcing your commitment to break a bad habit – be it on social media, to your family, or even on a giant poster on your wall – you amplify the internal pressure to succeed. The fear of disappointing others, of failing in the public eye, adds another layer of accountability beyond just your own willpower.

The power of group pressure can be good for you

Why It Works:

The public superego works through several mechanisms:

Increased Accountability: Sharing your goal makes you answerable to others, creating a stronger sense of commitment. You fear letting them down, which pushes you to stick to your resolution.

Social Support: Public declarations can garner encouragement and support from others, further bolstering your motivation. Witnessing their belief in you can fuel your own confidence.

Enhanced Motivation: Sharing your progress publicly, celebrating victories and acknowledging struggles, creates a positive feedback loop. The recognition for your efforts encourages you to keep going.

External Pressure: Knowing others are watching can make it harder to succumb to temptation. The fear of judgment serves as an extra deterrent, reminding you of your commitment.

Leveraging the Power for Lent 2024:

This Lent, instead of battling bad habits alone, consider harnessing the public superego:

Declare Your Goal: Publicly state your intention to break a specific habit. The more specific, the better! You can do it right there on social media with “Lent 2024 – My intention is…”

Choose Your Platform: Share it on social media, announce it to friends and family, or create a visible reminder like a poster.

Track Your Progress: Share updates on your journey, celebrating wins and being honest about challenges. This transparency keeps you accountable and motivates others.

Seek Support: If you don’t already have a community who will happily wag their fingers at you when you stray from the path, join online communities or find a friend with similar goals for encouragement and shared experiences.

Embracing the public superego in Lent 2024 can offer a valuable boost to your self-improvement journey.

Unlock the Power of Your Mind with Mindfulness & Brain Training:

It is true, though, that we are not ALWAYS with our peers. What, then, can we do when we find ourselves alone? Forget the struggle of sheer willpower. For Lent 2024, embark on a mindful journey of self-transformation with the combined power of mindfulness practices and brain training technology.


You are going to feel the old you tugging at you and trying to yank you towards those old ways you are so anxious to free yourself from. Running from these feelings or attempting to act like they are not there just will never work. This is why it is so powerful to be able to sit in silence for a while and just notice the cravings that are coming up. You may also be aware of all the ways that you attempt to justify the old you. It might go something like this:

Voice of old habit: “I know I said I wouldn’t eat chocolate… but I didn’t really mean ALL chocolate. OBVIOUSLY, I meant that I wouldn’t overdo it with the chocolate… and besides, small amounts of chocolate are actually good for you… I read that somewhere. I could always eat dark chocolate… That’s healthy isn’t it? I don’t really like dark chocolate so I won’t eat pure chocolate… That’s just nasty. 70% is dark enough… Oh but they only have milk chocolate at the store… I guess it doesn’t matter just this once”

Here you see the value of doing a simple mindfulness meditation: You can actually catch yourself in the act of this kind of internal dialogue. When you do catch yourself, it’s actually quite funny. You might even chuckle to yourself upon hearing it. Simply repeat your goal to yourself.

Voice of the new you: “For the duration of these 40 days of Lent 2024, not one atom of chocolate shall pass my lips” and for good measure, you can add “NO COMPROMISE”

Why We Get Stuck:

Our brains are wired for habit. Every time we indulge in that extra slice of cake or mindlessly scroll, we strengthen neural pathways, making change seem daunting. But here’s the good news: neuroplasticity allows us to rewire those pathways and create new, healthier habits.

Endless scrolling

Brain Training

Discipline is like a muscle. Inhibition is a cognitive skill. Repetition is the mother of habit. Bearing all this in mind, we take advantage of our good intentions for change and we kickstart a new way of being. Rather than using this Lent 2024 as a time in which you simply omit bad habits, we use it for a whole array of things that will make us better.

We can apply discipline in a regular dose just as you would train a muscle group every day or so in order to ensure its growth. You could teach your brain to resist ingrained impulses by using the powerful CogniFit brain training games that develop this skill. You do it all again and again so that at the end of these 40 days, you will truly have changed.

Ditch the Deprivation, Embrace Growth:

So what is the point of Lent? The answer depends on who you are asking. Ask a Christian, and they will tell you it is a chance to completely transform. Ask a more secular-minded person, and they might find it to be a time to embrace tradition in order to boot out old habits and make a decent life change. Ask a kid like the younger version of me, and you will hear that it is a notoriously long wait for chocolate.

Whatever your point of view, you can use a period of deprivation to make a truly radical change to your life. You might even see it as the death of the old you…. OK not a physical death, of course, but a symbolic end to that habitual, self-seeking, selfish, lying, hate-filled, gossiping or bullying self that you know you should have abandoned years ago but never did.

Love the new version of YOU

40 Days to a New You

Yes, I know it sounds like the title of a self-help book, but it could be a reality if you take this chance for total transformation seriously. This is what you can do:

Make a list of the habits that you don’t like. These are the things that show up again and again in your behavior. Altogether they are your personality. They are, by no means, the real you. They are learned habits.

Resolve to do none of them for the next 40 days. Use all the resources mentioned here: The social pressure, the community, meditation, brain training, and yes… willpower too.

Look Beyond what you Don’t Want You need some positive goals, as well. Write them down. If you tend to gossip and want to stop, decide to become a verbal “peacemaker”, if you tend to lie or exaggerate, resolve to be a speaker of truth.

Make it about Identity, not Just Habits It’s one thing to stop telling lies, quite another to become an honest person. One thing to stop eating chocolate, another to become a healthy person. The title of this article was about becoming a new you, not just dumping a few habits. If you are going to bother at all, make the change huge.

Your 40-Day MindFit Challenge in Lent 2024:

Ready to unlock your mind’s potential and break free from bad habits? Take the 40-Day MindFit Challenge! Download the app and unlock a daily dose of mindfulness exercises. Keep it up for 40 days and watch that old self fade away into the past. You can try some meditations on our YouTube as well to get you started.

40 Days of CogniFit

Download the CogniFit app and get training. This is the time to build up the good as well as to whittle away the bad. Once again, dedicate these 40 days to rigorous training and reap the rewards.

Embrace the possibilities of Lent 2024. Let go of willpower struggles and step into a mindful journey of self-improvement with MindFit. Download the app today and start building the empowered, healthier you!