A Catholic Convert in Ottawa

New Year, New You?

Posted on: January 8, 2016

Looking at last week’s flyers, it’s easy to tell that the top three New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight, quit smoking, and get organized. I couldn’t count the number of pieces of fitness equipment, nicotine patches, and storage totes advertised.

I often make New Year’s resolutions. Not because I enjoy the prospect of failure—experts tell us at the start of each new year that, by the middle of January, many of us give up on keeping them—but because I like having goals to work toward. For example, some of my goals for 2016 include taking another cooking class and trying the weaving kit I bought last year.

We know that goals need to be specific, measurable, and time-limited, not to mention realistic. There’s no point in saying we want to be healthier without pinpointing how much weight we want to lose, how many points we want our blood pressure to come down, or how many times we’ll exercise each week and outlining the steps we’ll take to make it happen.

If we focus only on health-related or clutter-clearing goals, though, we could be missing out on other areas of our lives where God wants us to make changes.

Maybe this is the year that we learn to put down the PDA, laptop or cell phone and look at our spouse when we’re having a conversation. Or that we have regular family game or movie nights so that we do more as a family than rush from one activity to the next. Or that we work harder to keep in touch with friends—or to make new ones.

Maybe this year we could also try to grow in our faith. We could plan to take a few minutes each day to read the Bible or pray, to volunteer to serve on our parish’s social action or maintenance committee, to sign up for pre-authorized giving, or to plan our giving for the year.

Maybe 2016 is the year we ask God to show us what changes we need to make and focus on those instead of the changes we think we should make—the year we take to heart these words of the apostle Paul in Romans 12:9-11*:

Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with brotherly affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Never flag in zeal, be aglow with the Spirit, serve the Lord.

(*Scripture quote taken from the Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.)

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Food for Thought

(Y)ou do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that.” ~ James 4:14-15

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