by Jeff Cavins | December 30, 2011 12:01 am
We are coming to that time when we’ll make that big New Year’s resolution. Often times we don’t think through the price or the consequences of resolutions said in haste. The result is that we usually are disappointed with ourselves and feel further behind than we had prior to starting out.
There’s nothing wrong with making resolutions on January 1st as many times the turn of the New Year offers us a fresh opportunity to make changes. In this brief article I hope to provide you with some helpful tips on making holy, productive and life-changing resolutions that are healthy for you and those around you and that keep eternity in mind.
One of the big mistakes that we make when we make New Year’s resolutions is that we cut away the branches, when the root is really the problem. For example, the person who makes a New Year’s resolution to lose 25 pounds oftentimes is missing the real problem of gluttony. Rather than making the resolution to lose 25 pounds, a better resolution may be to pray before every meal and ask God for the strength to eat moderately and to see our eating as a way of giving God thanks.
A great exercise to go through prior to making resolutions is to take the time to assess your weaknesses and strengths. Many times we learn about our weaknesses by reviewing our confession record or reflecting on the spiritual direction we have received in the prior year. What are the areas that you are really struggling in? What vices seem to keep you captive and hinder you from living that life in Christ that you really desire? There are many good resources you can find, in book form and on the web, to help you combat vice with the corresponding virtue.
Another thing that’s good to keep in mind is that grace builds upon nature. When it comes to making New Year’s resolutions, we all have a tendency to focus on nature, that is, the physical hurdles and goals before us. But keep in mind that our “physical” lives are not separate from our “spiritual” lives, in fact they are one. To attempt to do something about our physical reality without addressing the spiritual dimension is only addressing half the equation.
In the end, we must admit that life can be a struggle and that the person we want to be does not come without a price. That desire to change and become more like Christ was put in your heart by God. I truly believe that the desire to make a New Year’s resolution is in truth, the desire to become more like Christ. Christ is wooing us, drawing us to be conformed to His image. The decision we make on January 1st can become a prayer to God that comes from the depths of our heart in response to His desire to change us. Without grace, which is the life of the Trinity, change is even more difficult, so start by turning your heart and mind to God to determine what changes are necessary.
Below are eight questions that can act as a guide in making a good New Year’s resolution. Ask yourself the following questions:
My prayer for you this year is that your New Year’s resolution will not be simply wishful thinking, but will be Christ-centered desires, followed by action and the assistance of the Holy Spirit.
Visit Jeff Cavins on the internet at jeffcavins.com and facebook.com/simplyjeffcavins.
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