DEAR HARRIETTE: I have listened to friends tell me how they have given up different things for religious reasons -- especially for Lent -- for 40 days. Though I am not Christian, I like the notion of devoting a specific period of time to a discipline that takes something away. I think it could be helpful for me. I struggle with all kinds of things, from weight gain to clutter. I bet if I committed to giving up sweets or throwing things away every day for 40 days, I would see some positive results. Do you think it’s OK to adopt this practice even though I’m not following my friends’ religious tradition? -- Sacrifice
DEAR SACRIFICE: In a word, YES! By all means, adopt a practice from the Christian tradition to help guide your steps. The practice of surrendering your will for the betterment of your body, mind and spirit is powerful. To sacrifice things you care about, especially those that don’t serve you, for an extended period of time can lead to you making smarter choices for your life. It’s all about discipline, focus, commitment and the belief that you deserve to live a better life. Often, in order to get to that better life, you have to give up behaviors, things and sometimes people that no longer benefit you. Embrace this tradition, and see how it transforms your life.