I’ve never been one for making New Year’s Resolutions. Maybe it’s because I know I won’t keep them and it’s only a resolution for things I know I won’t do as opposed to doing better.
But, now goals are a different story.
In life we set goals. Goals of saving a certain amount of money for vacation, of reaching a certain promotion position, of paying off certain bills, or even of changing careers and getting into a new field. Regardless, goals seem somehow to motivate us – or at least me –more than ‘resolutions’.
So, as I think about what type of goals I would like to have next year, I am reminded of what the focus of my goals should be.
Colossians 3:2 tells us to not set our minds on earthly things, but on those from above. If we’re going to set goals, shouldn’t they be goals that would help us attain sainthood? Shouldn’t they be goals that would help us please our Lord? Shouldn’t they be goals that would draw us closer to our Lord?
One of my favorite phrases, and one which almost always causes friends and loved ones to go ‘OH NO’, is “I have a plan.” Now, normally, those plans are sensible, but they don’t always work out quite like I envision them. Usually it turns out to be something that should be featured on America’s Funniest Home Videos.
But, we need to be cautious with our ‘plans’ as we form our life goals for the new year. If our goals are aligning with the things of God, then our goals should align with the goals God has for us. Yes, God has goals and plans for YOU and for ME.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Now that is a plan I can live with and get on board with.
So, what about those goals? What type of goals can we set to ensure ours are aligning with those God has for us? Well, ask yourself what leads to hope, a future, and protection from harm? It’s being obedient!
How are we obedient? Well, let’s start by planning to get up at least 30 minutes early and before we reach for our cellphone to check Facebook, text messages, or missed calls – why not reach for our Bible or our Missal?
Here are some excellent goals for the upcoming year. How about attending Mass more often? After all, let’s admit it, most of us will have to be honest and say we don’t go to Mass as much as we should. How about Reconciliation? How often do we go to Confession? Why not make it a goal to go to Confession at a minimum of at least 1 or 2 times more than you did last year (provided you went last year). What about adoration? Did you spend time before the Blessed Lord in adoration? He asked his disciples ‘couldn’t you spend one hour with me?’. Guess what! He is asking you the same question. You can’t spend one hour with me? (I bet you spent two hours or more watching that football game or the season finale of your favorite show).
The difference between goals and most resolutions is that we understand in life – most goals require time and they require effort. It happens over the course of time. It’s not something that happens overnight. But, after all, relationships are not built overnight, either, now are they? Isn’t that what we’re building – a relationship with Jesus?
So, what are your goals for the new year, or are you setting resolutions you know you will break?