“No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. So, no matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great,” a phrase by John Chrysostom that Pope Francis likes to quote to invite everyone to make the right decision when it comes to what to give up for Lent.

Lent is a season of the Christian Year where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. Beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Holy Saturday, Lent is the forty-day period before Easter, excluding Sundays, in which Christians follow obligatory rules for fasting, spiritual recognition and repentance.

Back in the fourth century, when the Christian Holiday was first observed, Christians would only focus on self-examination and self-denial in preparation for Easter, and fasting was mandatory through this process. In recent years, abstaining from eating red meat became the primary goal and other fasting options have become available for newer generations.

The Catholic Church now recommends not only to fast throughout the Lenten Season, or to give up something that you really love, but also to dedicate some time to those in need and to show love and compassion to your neighbor.

Scroll down to read some other things you can do during Lent that don't necessarily involve fasting: 

1) Try an electronic fast (yes, that means no social media either).

2) Give up your daily “siesta” and pick up a new hobby.

3) Pick a different loved one, or friend, or even a stranger each day and say a prayer for them.

4) Join a Bible reading club, or just any book club.

5) Create a daily quiet time. Sometimes meditation is key.

6) Forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it.

7) Make someone smile every day.

8) Pick random people in the street and pay them a compliment.

9) Volunteer at a local shelter, nursing home, prison ministry, orphanage.

10) If you know you are addicted to something, whether it is technology, food, drinks, shopping... try to give it up.