Wondering what to give up for Lent 2021?
If so, you’re in luck!
Today, I’m sharing 50 of the best things to give up for Lent so you can find the one that’s just right for you.
Because it’s so important to get “what to give up for Lent” just right, isn’t it?
After all, what’s the point of giving up chocolate or soda if it doesn’t make a real difference in your life?
And you definitely don’t want to pick something awkward that you’re going to be embarrassed to share with others…
No, as you’re deciding what to give up for Lent, you want something meaningful. Something that’s unique just to you. And something that will truly make a difference in your life this Lenten season.
You don’t just want good things to give up for Lent — you want to find the BEST things to give up for Lent.
Well, the good news is, that’s exactly what you’re going to find right in this post — along with a helpful Lent worksheet and even a “What should I give up for Lent” quiz!
(Be sure to scroll all the way to the end for that one!)
What is Lent?
Lent is a 40-day period of spiritual preparation leading up to Easter in which many Christians reflect on Christ’s death and resurrection.
While many people use Lent as a way to better themselves (through giving something up), the Lent season isn’t really supposed to be about us at all. Rather, it’s a time to reflect on what Jesus did. And it’s meant to be a time of self-sacrifice, denial and repentance.
It’s not about deciding what to give up for Lent. It’s about deciding to turn our focus back to Christ, and finding ways to grow in relationship with him, be more like him, and follow him better.
This doesn’t mean we should skip giving up something for Lent, of course. Giving up something for Lent is still a great practice!
We just need to be careful to avoid making giving up something for Lent all about us and what we can do, rather than about what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross.
It’s a small distinction, but it makes such a difference as you’re choosing what to give up for Lent this year.
Related Reading: Where is Lent in the Bible?
When is Lent?
This year, Lent begins on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 (Ash Wednesday) and ends on Thursday, April 1, 2021 (Holy Thursday).
In other words, if you’re giving up something for Lent this year, you’ll start February 17, 2021 (Ash Wednesday).
After that, however, the dates can vary a bit. While most people will go straight through until Easter morning, some people argue that Sundays technically don’t “count” as part of Lent, so it’s fine to enjoy whatever they gave up on those days.
Either way is up to you (the practice of giving up something for Lent isn’t mandatory either way) — you’ll just want to decide in advance so you aren’t tempted to “cheat” on a technicality.
Why Do We Give Up Things for Lent?
Of course, before you choose what you’re giving up for Lent, you may be wondering, “Why do we give up things for Lent at all? What’s the point?” That’s a great question.
Like I said before, Catholic Lent is meant to be a season of self-sacrifice, denial and repentance. It’s an opportunity to grow closer to God, to remember his life and death, and to focus more on him and less on ourselves and our busy schedules.
The practice of giving up something for Lent isn’t required by any Christian denomination, Protestant or Catholic*. Rather, it’s a practice many Christians (and even some non-Christians) voluntarily choose to follow each year as a spiritual discipline to help them grow in faith and charity.
So if you think giving up something for Lent might be helpful for you: Try it and see if it helps! But if you’d rather skip it, that’s fine too.
(Although I imagine you wouldn’t be reading this article about “What to give up for Lent?” if that were the case!)
However, depending on what things you choose to give up for Lent, Lent could help you: grow closer to God, learn to trust Him more, break free of specific sins you struggle with, become more like Christ, grow in gratitude, or develop a greater understanding of those who are different than you.
…Or, you could just finish the 40 days with a sense of accomplishment that you were able to complete a challenge you made to yourself.
It all depends on what you choose to give up for Lent and how you do!
*Note for Catholics only: U.S. Catholics ARE required to give up eating meat on certain days throughout Lent. My post, What Can I Eat During Lent? (Complete Lent Fasting Rules Made Easy), explains allll those Catholic Lent fasting rules in a way that’s really easy to follow and understand. And I have tons of great Easy Lent recipes here, if that’s helpful to you as well. So definitely check those out too.
Grab Your Free “What Should I Give Up For Lent” Worksheet!
Okay, so you’ve decided you’re interested in giving up something for Lent, but what 1-2 ideas should you choose?
Many people simply choose one of the popular things to give up for Lent, such as chocolate, coffee or social media. Others want something a little more meaningful, such as giving up alcohol for Lent or trying to give up worry for Lent.
But before you decide what to give up for Lent, you want to make sure you have an idea that’s perfect for YOU. Something that will actually help you, not just frustrate you for 6 weeks.
Thankfully, I have just the thing: This “What Should I Give Up For Lent” Worksheet.
Not only will it help you come up with the best things to give up for Lent for you personally, but it will help you identify how you’re doing spiritually, find YOUR biggest spiritual obstacles and identify the solutions that will work best for you!
And best of all — it’s free!
I’d be happy to send it to you. Just let me know where to send it!
Related Reading: 40 Short Daily Lenten Prayers for Spiritual Renewal
Is Lent Only for Catholics? (Do Baptists Celebrate Lent?)
While Lent is most typically associated with the Roman Catholic Church, Lent isn’t only for Catholics. Lent is also commonly observed by Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans and those in the Eastern Orthodox church.
In fact, according to this article by Christianity Today, 20% of Protestants as a whole (including 28% of Evangelicals) DO observe Lent in some capacity, even if their home churches don’t. (Compare that to 61% of Catholics, the group most likely to participate in giving up something for Lent).
And while it is true that Evangelicals, Pentecostalists and Baptists don’t typically celebrate Lent, there’s really no reason any individual Christian can’t participate.
Remember, giving up something for Lent isn’t a requirement of ANY Christian denomination. Rather, it’s something specific Christians (and even some non-Christians) choose to do because they find the practice helpful. So if you feel like giving up something for Lent would be beneficial to you spiritually — you can absolutely participate!
Personally, I’m not Protestant OR Catholic (just a committed, Bible-believing Christian), and I look forward to participating in Lent and figuring out what to give up for Lent each year!
What to Give Up for Lent: 50 BEST Things to Give up for Lent 2021
Alright, ready to dive in? Without further ado, here are FIFTY of the best things to give up for Lent 2021. And they’re all broken down by category (popular things to give up for Lent, funny things to give up for Lent, unique things to give up for Lent, etc) so you can find the idea that’s just right for you this Lenten season!
Popular Things to Give Up for Lent
Sometimes the easiest way to figure out “What should I give up for Lent?” is to ask: “What do people give up for Lent?”
After all, if these popular things to give up for Lent work for them, maybe one could work for you too, right?
Well, the good news is: You don’t have to guess.
This Twitter Lent Tracker keeps tabs on what Twitter users say they are giving up for Lent each year. I have a feeling a LOT of the answers are very tongue in cheek from people who aren’t actually giving up something for Lent, but it’s still interesting to see what do people give up for Lent and how that changes over time.
For example, here are last year’s top 10 most popular things to give up for Lent:
- Social networking
Want to see how the best things to give up for Lent have changed over time? You can see that too, using this Historical Twitter Lent Tracker!
Looks like giving up chocolate for Lent is trending down, while giving up social networking for Lent is trending up!
Meaningful Things to Give Up for Lent
- Sleeping in (Wake up early to pray these 40 daily Lenten Prayers)
- Comparing Yourself to Others
- Stress eating
- Your Time (Volunteer for a cause that matters to you)
- Your Money (Donate to a cause that matter to you)
Do you have any sins or bad habits you really struggle with? Things you know you shouldn’t do, but you struggle to stop? If so, maybe you want to try one of these meaningful things to give up for Lent — like to stop complaining or give up worry for Lent. Doesn’t hurt to try, right?
Unique Things to Give Up for Lent
- Sleeping in a Bed
- Taking Hot Showers
- Watching TV, Hulu, Netflix and Youtube
- Wearing Make-up
- Playing Games on Your Phone
- Looking in the Mirror
- Checking Your Bank Account
- Bottled Water
- Weighing Yourself
- Reading questionable books and/or magazines
These unique Lent ideas are all about self-sacrifice and figuring out what is holding you back from a better relationship with God personally.
So if you’re wondering what to give up for Lent, try asking yourself: Have you gotten too comfortable in life? Are you more interesting in watching TV than reading your Bible? Are you a little too into your looks? Are you letting the amount of money in your bank account determine how much peace you have?
What small things are holding YOU back spiritually, and how can you remove them from your life for a while?
Funny Things to Give Up for Lent
- Listening to the Radio in the Car
- Using Instagram Filters
- Texting While Driving
- Driving Over the Speed Limit
- Getting Take Out
- Talking About Yourself (unless someone asks you a direct question)
- Letting the Housework Pile Up
- Avoiding difficult conversations
- Working overtime
You might get some funny looks if someone asks you “What are you giving up for Lent?” and you reply with one of these funny things to give up for Lent, but hey, this is between you and God. If you think giving up Instagram filters would help you think about yourself less, stop comparing yourself to others, or stop feeling quite so jealous, then by all means — go for it!
Other Good Things to Give Up for Lent
- Online Shopping
- Snacking (or just your favorite snack)
- Constantly Checking Your Phone
- Hitting the Drive Thru
- A Specific Food Group (bread, cheese, sweets)
- Negative Relationships
- Clutter (Donate 40 things over 40 days)
- Speaking (or thinking) Negative Thoughts about Yourself
- Trying to Control or Manipulate Others to Get Your Own Way
Of course, you don’t need to overthink it. There are TONS of good things to give up for Lent. You just need to pick one. Don’t worry about getting it “wrong.” You can’t. Just pick one. You can always pick something else next year. (Or any time of year–not just during the Lenten season!)
Or… Choose One of These Things to Do For Lent
Of course, you don’t have to give something up for Lent. You could choose to ADD something for Lent instead!
For example, you might choose to:
- Read your Bible
- Go to Church/Mass
- Memorize Scripture
- Read a Daily Devotional Each Day
- Read a Christian Living Book
- Watch Christian Movies
- Write Cards to the Sick, Elderly or Military
- Listen to Christian Music
- Make an Appointment to Talk to a Pastor/Priest
I’m saving up all of my questions in a note on my phone, and once I have a list, I’ll meet with a Catholic Priest to ask hard questions and get clarification.
I’ve done this for the last several years, and I’ve really enjoyed learning more. Plus, I know it’s something I may not make enough time for if I didn’t specifically choose to read it for Lent.
(Hence why it’s taken me three years now to read through it!)
*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no additional cost to you. This helps cover the many costs of running this site and allows me to help provide for my growing family.
Take the “What Should I Give Up for Lent” Quiz!
STILL stumped on what to give up for Lent?
Why not take a fun “What Should I Give Up for Lent” quiz? There are tons of them out there, and they’re a great way to waste time while you’re debating what to give up for Lent! ?
Here are a few “What to Give Up for Lent” quizzes you might enjoy:
What Should I Give Up For Lent? – ProProfs Quizzes
Quiz: What Should You Give Up for Lent – EpicPew
What Should You Give Up For Lent? – Buzzfeed
STILL need ideas? Here are 10 Out of the Box Things to Give up for Lent from Your Modern Family and 10 Things You Can Do (or Give Up) for Lent As a Family from A Mother Far From Home. Maybe one of these will spark some more ideas for what to give up for Lent!
Are you giving up something for Lent in 2021? What are you going to give up for Lent in 2021? What other good things to give up for Lent have you chosen in the past?
Don’t forget to check out these other fantastic Lent resources as well: