Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As we begin a new calendar year together, it is traditionally a time for resolutions. These promises to ourselves and others are meant to be for our improvement, to do better with things that we might struggle with. It is a good thing to do, to tackle those weaker aspects of our lives with renewed vigor as we usher in a new year. However, if you’re like me, most of my resolutions are left in the dust by the end of the month. Why is it so hard to follow through?
A common issue with these things is that we start out by climbing Mt. Everest. By that I mean, we attempt some very big lifestyle changes without much lead up to it. To say that you’ll never eat chocolate again sounds really impressive. But if you had a piece or two every single day of your life so far, stopping altogether is a mighty feat. Perhaps we should work our way up to these wholesale changes rather than doing it all first thing and head on. Cut down first, rather than eliminate straight away.
Another common flaw is that our resolutions do not reflect our real desire. Maybe I really do love chocolate, maybe I’m only giving it up because people tell me that it’s bad for me. Maybe I don’t really want to exercise more, but one of my Christmas gifts was workout gear and I feel obligated to try and do something with it. If your resolution isn’t born of a real desire to make that particular change within ourselves, it’ll never take hold. You can’t force yourself to do or not do something as a long term solution. You have to want it.
It’s the same with the spiritual life. That pesky sin, that prayer you want to do better with, it has to come from your own personal desire and with the expectation that you need to build up to it. Want to do Eucharistic Adoration? Great! But start slow with maybe twenty minutes a week and build up to a full hour. Want to be less of a gossip? Wonderful! But you have to make the full and conscious decision not to engage in it. You have to be sick and tired of the sin.
I hope you make good resolutions for the New Year and that you are able to follow through with them in 2020.
Peace and Goodness,