Happy New Year! As January comes to a close, it’s hard to believe that we’ve already completed almost a month of 2010. With the changing of the calendars came New Year’s resolutions for many people. Browsing websites, magazines, and radio commercials over the last several weeks, I’ve seen and heard dozens of references to such resolutions. Common ones that seemed to keep reappearing included losing weight and getting fit, saving money and getting out of debt, or quitting a habit such as smoking.
These are all good goals and they will benefit those who accomplish them. It is certainly important to keep our bodies healthy and to live moderately. But these goals all seem to have a physical, material focus. Where on this list is “praying more,” “being more generous in sharing my talents and blessings with the poor,” or “spending more time with my family?” Surely these things are also important, yet so many people seem to forget them. Is it possible that we have our priorities so mixed up that it is illustrated even in our New Year’s resolutions? Is it possible that people are so caught up in attaining the perfect body and having lots of money and possessions that they have forgotten the spiritual goods they should also be seeking?
Trying to be healthy and wanting to save money are not bad things, and if these are your resolutions for this year, I applaud your determination. But why not add a spiritual resolution as well? Maybe it means praying a rosary every day or trying to make it to weekday Mass once a week. Maybe it means volunteering at a local food bank or hospital once a month. Whatever it may be, I challenge you to make a spiritual resolution for 2010. It’s not too late to start!
You may find that you can even incorporate your spiritual resolution into the other resolution you already made. Going for a morning run? Pray the rosary as you jog. Headed to the gym? Grab a spiritual book to read on the bike or treadmill. Cutting back on afternoon snacks? Donate that money to charity.
In addition, the sacrifices that you make in the process of achieving your other New Year’s resolutions can help build virtue. An effective work-out routine requires patience, and dieting calls for self discipline. Cutting back on spending requires prudence in budgeting. See what virtues you can build as you strive to reach your goals this year.
Finally, as you work diligently to meet your goals, remember to give thanks to God for all the blessings He has given you. Striving to improve ourselves where we fall short is good, but we don’t want to focus on our imperfections so much that we forget all the wonderful things we have been blessed with. Gratitude is important. May you have a happy, healthy, and holy 2010!
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.