New Year’s Resolutions can be daunting and they can also be extremely hard to keep. I tend to be very ambitious at the start of the year, but sometimes I’ve already broken my resolutions by January 3. There’s something so beautiful in us that likes a clean slate, a fresh start, and something to work towards. But, maybe you’ve tried some resolutions year after year and you seem to have trouble keeping them (seriously how many gym memberships have I had!), or you put too much on your plate and get overwhelmed.
I did a little searching to see if the saints could help in some way, had some things to say about “new beginnings”, new year’s resolutions, or just had some good ideas for this time of year. Here’s what I found.
Always we begin again.St. Benedict
This simple quote should help us get started in the New Year. There is always an opportunity to start fresh. Maybe begin the year by going to confession and adoration. Wipe your slate clean and begin again.
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.St. Jerome
So, you probably know this one, but maybe let it sink in a little bit. Maybe this year you could add a little more scripture reading into your daily routine. I once did a chronological reading plan, which was amazing! I went through the actual order the scriptures were put together. Even reading the daily Mass readings or the Psalm for the day could radically change your knowledge of the scriptures and your relationship with Christ.
Change Your Thinking
Be gentle with all and stern with yourself.St. Teresa of Avila
Oh my goodness this quote is tough. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about it either. We should be taking care of ourselves and making sure we continually work to forgive ourselves. However, I find that it’s so easy to be judgmental and critical of others when I see something in them that I don’t like in myself. What would happen this year if on of my New Year’s resolutions was to be kind, meek, and gentle with all those I meet (also remembering I have no idea what their experience is or what they are going through), and make sure I check myself when I start getting judgy or critical? I remember one year working on this and every time I had a critical thought about someone, I would try to say to myself, “You don’t know their experience. What’s one good thing you see in them today? Meditate on that”. It definitely helped.
Read a Catholic Book
Only God knows the good that can come about by reading one good Catholic book.St. John Bosco
I love John Bosco and I think he was spot on. I have found that reading a good, spiritual book brings so much good into my life and revives me. Brandon Vogt has a great list of Catholic books, but even googling it will get you some great titles from St. Therese and G.K. Chesterton, to Thomas Merton and Scott Hahn. Maybe just put 5 on your list for the year and see how it goes.
Get Up Early
The heroic minute. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and … up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body.St. Josemaria Escriva
This quote from St. Josemaria Escriva has always spoken to me. I’ve always been an early bird (maybe less so with a waking baby), but I found it refreshing when I was able to get up at the time when my alarm went off, pray morning prayer, workout (or maybe not!), and have a little coffee in the quiet of my house. My days were much less stressed and more joyful with that time in the morning. I’m just a big fan, but I found there are a lot of Biblical references to getting up early (King David did it a lot, and so did Jesus).
Every day that passes, I fall more desperately in love with the mountains… I am ever more determined to climb the mountains, to scale the mighty peaks, to feel that pure joy which can only be felt in the mountains.Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati
You can just feel the passion coming from Frassati in this quote and I love it! Being outside brings so many benefits. I find that if I’m not feeling well, if I go for a brief walk, I almost always feel better. Fresh air, being in a beautiful place, hiking a trail, having a campfire, swimming in a lake, or just taking a walk can rejuvenate and make you thankful for the beautiful place. My cousins are really into hiking and made it their goal to hike all the high peaks in New York state (to become a 46er, I think they call it), and they did it! There is also a 52 Hike Challenge every year and all you have to do is hike once a week.
In conclusion, do what you can this year to draw closer to Christ, love your neighbor more, and spend time doing things you like to do with the people you love. Give God your best this year with some solid New Year’s Resolutions and make it your best year yet.