January starts with such hope. For many people, that hope of renewal turns into action. Others of us get to the end of the month and feel sad. But cheer up. February is a great month for starting lasting change in our lives.
Here are five reasons.
- February includes Groundhog Day, a comparatively meaningless event. Winter happens and then it stops, regardless of what the observations of an groundhog-turned-gnomen. But the frivolity reminds us that there may be places in our lives for celebrations that have no cards and few special sales. We are built for rest and laughter and community.
- February includes Saint Valentine’s Day, a holiday full of sentimental trappings and false expectations. But it reminds us that there is value in self-sacrificially celebrating self-sacrificial love. We could wait for Good Friday to reflect on that love. But we can live it out this month.
- February includes Lent, an opportunity to reset our focus, our patterns, our appetites. It’s easy to get legalistic about forty days of fasting. When humans are presented with a boundary, we focus on the boundary. What counts as fasting? How much can you eat without breaking the fast? How long? What health matters? Focus may be a better word than Lent, fasting, or giving up. Often, the best way to give something up is to choose what to focus on instead. In the case of Lent, the intended focus is God.
- February is shorter than other months, giving us the opportunity to say “I drank an extra quart of water and did 30 sit-ups every day this month” and only have to complete the task for 28 days.
- February includes two presidential birthdays. We have huge myths about Washington and Lincoln, which can be unhealthy. But heroes understood can give us examples of making wise choices for others.