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8 Baby Steps to a Better Year: How to Keep Your Resolutions

8 Baby Steps to a Better Year: How to Keep Your Resolutions

God, thank you for a new year. May everyone in our family be willing to begin anew with a clean slate. We know that you are always ready to forgive us. Help us to be willing to forgive ourselves and to forgive one another.

As we begin a new year, remind us of our truest values and our deepest desires. Help us to live in the goodness that comes from doing what you want us to do. Help us to put aside anxiety about the future and the past, so that we might live in peace with you now, one day at a time. ~Loyola Press (A Jesuit Ministry)

Good-bye 2013, hello 2014!

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone so quickly, but here we are in January once again. For many, this is a time for introspection, a time to look back and to look forward. Traditionally, it is the time for making resolutions to improve ourselves spiritually and materially.

Unfortunately, the resolutions that are made are often forgotten or abandoned after the first several weeks. So, where are we to begin and how can we give ourselves a fighting chance at keeping the resolutions we make? How can we help our children to understand the value of making and keeping New Year’s resolutions?

Keep it Simple

The first thing that pops into my mind is something that I’ve been told repeatedly. Keep it simple. I think it’s also important to keep it challenging, but doable. Complex goals can be confusing and while challenge is good, too much can be overwhelming and lead to frustration and eventual abandonment.

We always used to tell our kids to start with baby steps when tackling a new project or goal. I have to smile at that because as sound as that advice might be, I often forget about the baby steps. It is so much more gratifying to take off running for the big goal. For me, that is usually a big mistake, at least if I want to make it to the finish line.

It occurred to me that New Year’s resolutions are somewhat similar to Lenten practices and might be used as a lead in to that season, like a warm up of sorts. So where to begin? One possibility came to mind the other day.

During Lent our family tries to have a two-pronged approach to our practices, positive actions and negative actions. The positive actions are things that need to be done. Because they are positive, they might even be fun. The negative actions are things that need to be avoided or eliminated. We determine, either individually or as a family (or both), what we’d like to work on and go from there. In order to help narrow the choices for resolutions, categories could be devised such as:

  • Faith & Family,
  • Health, Education,
  • Self-improvement (materially and spiritually),
  • Duties of our state,
  • Vocation, etc…

The possibilities are endless.

I’ve been told in the past to keep my resolutions, of whatever type to a small number and fairly specific so that it is easier to focus and to make progress. That makes sense, but can be easier said than done. Still, determining what to work on is the easy part. Once that is done, the real work begins. What is the key to keeping our resolutions successfully? I wish I knew, but I do have some ideas.

  1. Pray for help.
  2. Keep the resolutions challenging, yet doable
  3. Keep resolutions specific
  4. Keep the resolutions positive whenever possible (i.e.: “ I will swim, take a walk, or play outside with the kids 30-45 minutes 3-5 days a week and modify my diet in order to lose 15 lbs in the next six months”, as opposed to “I will give up all sweets and stop sitting around after work in order to lose weight.)
  5. Hold yourself accountable, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Everyone has setbacks. What is important is that we don’t get discouraged, but brush ourselves off and start over. (Hmm…am I listening to myself?)
  6. Keep a diary or journal of your progress.
  7. If necessary, approach family and friends for support.
  8. Remember it’s never too late to begin.

It’s never too late to begin… God bless and may 2014 bring you and your families every happiness and success, and much joy and peace.

Prayer for a Blessing on the New Year

O sacred and adorable Trinity, hear our prayers on behalf of our holy Father the Pope, our Bishops, our clergy, and for all that are in authority over us. Bless, we beseech Thee, during the coming year, the whole Catholic Church; convert heretics and unbelievers; soften the hearts of sinners so that they may return to Thy friendship; give prosperity to our country and peace among the nations of the world; pour down Thy blessings upon our friends, relatives, and acquaintances, and upon our enemies, if we have any; assist the poor and the sick; have pity on the souls of those whom this year has taken from us; and do Thou be merciful to those who during the coming year will be summoned before Thy judgment seat. May all our actions be preceded by Thy inspirations and carried on by Thy assistance, so that all our prayers and works, having been begun in Thee, may likewise be ended through Thee. Amen.
~ Catholic Online

About Marlicia Fernandez

Marlicia homeschooled her two children with Seton for fourteen years in Europe and in the USA. She has a BS in Special Education with concentrations in music and in psychology. Marlicia works for Seton in Special Services and Grading. Meet Marlicia
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