40 Day Intention Challenge

You may or may not know that yesterday was Ash Wednesday! In the Catholic faith that marks the beginning of Lent, a time for reflection and re-focus for those who are of the religious constitution or those who enjoy the practice. Typically during the 40 days of Lent, you choose something to give up or something to focus on, an intention of sorts.

This year I have chosen intentions that are focused around my health and will be difficult to complete, but doable. You do not have to be Catholic or even religious to participate in this practice, but I encourage you to chose an intention or two (a behavior change you are trying to make, a healthy practice you want to add to your life, or something you have been wanting to accomplish). Once you have your intentions, then set a start and finish time that is at least 21 days (it takes 21 consecutive days to make a behavior a habit). If you want your timeline to be Lent then you will be doing this intention for 40 days (well 39 now). Lastly, write down your intentions and/or tell a friend so that you can remain accountable. Make sure you know the “why” for your intentions

Emma’s Intentions:

  • Sugar Cleanse x 21 days (followed by no added sugar or dairy for the remaining 19 days of Lent)
    • Sugar and dairy are my two guilty pleasure foods. I feel better and I am healthier when I limit my consumption of them.
  • Exercise daily (at least 30 minutes, 3.5 hours per week)
    • I am happier and more productive when I participate in daily exercise.
  • Reflect, journal, and/or meditate (at least 10 minutes per day)
    • This is the most difficult for me, but the MOST important. I have a tendency to not slow down and allow myself to rest. Whenever I meditate I am much more at peace.

Put my $$ where my mouth is… (or so to speak)

I chose these intentions, because they are lifestyle changes I would like to be more consistent about implementing daily! BUT… behavior change is hard and I would be lying to all of you if I pretended like I stuck to all these changes consistently for 40 days, so to keep myself accountable and so you can see what it is like to implement behavior changes, I will post up here my daily progress/lack there of. If you have an intention(s) that you would like to share or keep yourself accountable for, feel free to comment on my daily posts and we can support each other! ❤


The ashes signify the beginning of a contemplative time in my faith, a time of suffering, but I am choosing to make this a time for self improvement and growth! If you have questions regarding Ash Wednesday or Catholicism, this is probably not the place to ask them (I am not an expert), but feel free and I’ll do my best to answer!

My name is Emma Petshow and I am a 3rd year naturopathic medical student at the National College of Natural Medicine in Portland, OR. For more about myself, check out my bio. This blog is intended for information about preventive health and lifestyle improvement. The information contained on this blog is not to be used as medical advice. For specific medical advice you should consult your physician.

2 thoughts on “40 Day Intention Challenge

  1. Angela Hardin says:

    I love that you are doing a blog! I also started one in email format for the past few months and am trying to grow it into a blog/website 💜


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