We are almost ¾ of the way through January, and you may or may not still be going to the gym. I read recently that gym attendance goes back to pre-January levels by February 15th. So how do we keep these new year’s resolutions that we felt so good about as 2016 turned to 2017?
I led my CRHP (Christ Renews His Parish) group through a discussion of resolutions tonight, so I’m going to double dip a bit here. I am sure we have all heard that the most successful people not only make goals and resolutions, but that they put pen to paper and write them down. If they are written down, we can return to them, review them, and identify how we are doing in relation to moving toward that goal. You have also likely heard that goals should be actionable and attainable. You can have a spiritual goal of getting up at 5:00 a.m. daily and making time for prayer, but if you know that you do not function well until 8:30 after half a pot of coffee, that probably is not a realistic goal for you.
My group also talked about accountability. We know that ultimately, we are accountable to God our father day in and day out for our thoughts, words and deeds. However, if we have a close friend, spouse or spiritual director that can help us to be accountable for the change we seek in our lives, we may be more likely to power through the difficult transition of change, or at least seek help when we are not succeeding as we would like.
Our group discussed four areas in which we could make resolutions: mind, body and soul. The fourth area was “fun just for me” – something we could do to bring joy to our lives so that we can pass that joy onto others. We shared our spiritual resolutions, as well as ways to make those come to fruition. One friend suggested that making one spiritual resolution per week made the task less daunting and more doable. Another suggested finding a word that describes an overall theme to your resolutions – trust, hope, joy – and integrate that into multiple areas and how you wish to change your life and approach others. I came away from this group filled with hope that I can begin to make some of the changes that I need to make in my life. I know I have women (and men) in my life who support me in making changes that will help me to be the person that God continually calls me to be.
An author and speaker that I really admire is Matthew Kelly. He is also an executive coach, and before he works with clients, he asks them to consider and answer some questions. These questions are not light – they are heavy, and provoke thought and introspection. Get out your journal, head to a quiet spot or the adoration chapel, and give these a whirl.
13 QUESTIONS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE IN 2017
“It’s another year. In lots of ways you get to decide what this new year will be like. Sure, things will happen that you have less or no control over. But even in those situations, you get to decide how you will react or respond.
Consider some of these questions:
- What are the biggest changes you would like to make to your life in the next 12 months?
- What are the biggest changes you would like to make to your life in the next 1–3 years?
- What do you want to achieve most in your life?
- What is your greatest obstacle to this achievement?
- What are 3 of your biggest achievements to date?
- What dream have you given up on?
- What major transitions have you had in the past 2 years?
- What is the hardest thing in your life you’ve ever had to overcome?
- Looking at the past 6 months of your life, do you like the direction your life is moving in?
- What part of yourself have you given up on?
- What are your primary stressors?
- What is your definition of success?
- What would you like your personal legacy to be?
This is an easy list of questions to read. They are not easy questions to answer. Take some time over the next couple of weeks to write out your answers. It will be a life-altering exercise.” (Source: Matthew Kelly, DynamicCatholic.com)
We all need a little inspiration and encouragement to make a change in our lives or to break a bad habit. Fortunately, we have the communion of saints who have “been there, done that” and have come out on the back end on the right side. We have Mary, our mother, who knows our suffering and intercedes for us. We have Jesus our brother – fully God and fully human, who experienced our human existence and understands our day to day struggles. Sounds like we have an awesome accountability group looking out for us and supporting us in our quest to be the best version of ourselves.
Lord of new life, thank you for the gift of a new year.
You have entrusted us with the coming days, weeks and months as stewards of your divine plan;
To live in gratitude, joy and an ever-growing confidence in your Kingdom to come.
We ask for the humility to reform our lives;
The courage to commit ourselves to you no matter the cost;
And the wisdom to shine the light of faith on others.
Open our hearts, give us your Spirit and show us how to share your love so that we may bring hope to a world in need of your justice and peace.
We pray to be a sign of your grace in this new year through your son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.