Advent is routinely more successful for me than Lent. I suppose that's by my definition of success, which is that I'm more faithful to my commitments. (Perhaps God views it differently?)
I think it's because it's a sprint and not a marathon, like Lent seems to be.
We (my roommate and I) are on day 28 of WholeAdvent (Whole30) and it has been a good month. I'm bored to tears of eating meat and vegetables, but I think we stuck to the rules pretty well. We grocery shopped and meal planned on the weekends, and only went to Chipotle (one of like 3 Whole30 approved restaurants) about 5 times all month (haha!). If you would have asked me six months ago if I'd ever do Whole30, I would have said helllllll no. But as per usual, once I decide to do something, I'm too stubborn to not complete the task.
We also prayed Night Prayer every night, and surprisingly, we were together every night of Advent except one that I was in San Antonio for a family Christmas thing last weekend.
I only read religious books this year during Advent. I started and finished Reed of God by Caryll Houselander, and Letters to a Young Catholic by George Weigle. I am about half way through Jesus Shock by Peter Kreeft, but I should finish within a week or so.
A few things I've learned about myself this Advent:
The only way for me to learn to trust God is to ask Mary to give me some of her trust in Him.
Self awareness is a journey, not a one and done "got it or don't got it" type of virtue. I'm still at the beginning.
The person in front of me (in any given circumstance or encounter) can teach me something about God that I cannot learn without them. This takes practice to recognize.
My stubbornness and grit can be a virtue when they take the form of perseverance to do God's will.
When I don't have Facebook to distract me and keep me entertained, my job is really freaking boring.
When I'm bored, I need to work on bettering myself and my relationships.
I'm kind of a grinch. I LOVE Advent so much that I want to preserve it in its wholeness. I love bare trees with only white lights (and maybe a purple ribbon!). I hate how obsessed our culture is with rushing Christmas. I NEED the time in Advent to prepare my heart for Jesus. I complained a few times about Christmasy things happening in Advent. Church, why do you go the way of the world on this one?! The Christmas Choir Concert should be during CHRISTMAS!
Mary, to the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator, yet remained a virgin after as before. Pray for me!