Today’s the first day of Lent — a forty-day period where Christians traditionally make a sacrifice to better themselves (and overindulge in that vice the day before). Whether you’re religious or not, we can all learn a lot from giving something up as an experiment. 

This month’s issue of Esquire featured a section called “Doing Without” which focused on giving up different “essentials,” like sex, for a month. (Unfortunately, it’s not available online, though, the badass designer posted the neat layout online — pictured here.) We’ve given up drinking at HackCollege and the writer who did the same for Esquire reaped similar benefits:

Your mood is better; you feel more optimistic. If you’re an athlete, you become better at your sport… You work out harder– and feel better afterward. It’s nice, at the end of the night, not to have to think about whether you can drive home or not. You’re hungrier, which may be a mixed blessing. You sleep more, not less. And as the month of your estrangement from alcohol winds down, each of the positive effects get a little more pronounced.

Though giving up email or Google (like some of the other Esquire writers did) could impede your productivity, there are other websites you might consider dropping. Cal Newport recently covered a student who gave up Facebook and saw his GPA go up. As Cal puts it: 

Although most students don’t need to leave Facebook, every student should at least give the idea serious consideration. 

Personally, doing without meat for a one-month experiment convinced me to become a vegetarian for the past year. However, I don’t think it’s saved me any time day-to-day — unless you count the number of years I will statistically out-live meat-eaters. 

So: Can giving something up make you more productive (or just a better person) this month? Give it some thought.