The beginning of a new year gives us the impression of a clean slate. It offers an opportunity to turn from the past and look to the future with hope and a fresh perspective. But too often we make lists of resolutions and goals for the new year without any clear or foundational reasoning. If we aren’t intentional, we can allow passing pleasures or successes to guide our resolutions, leaving us uninspired 6 months in or discouraged if we don’t feel fulfilled upon achieving our goals.
Before planning anything for an upcoming year, we must first reflect on the past. It is in humbling ourselves to our shortcomings of the previous year that we are more accurately able to make resolutions for the future. We are nothing apart from God; when we recognize this and see where we fell short, then we more readily recognize our need for God’s grace and mercy in the future. This is the foundation upon which we should prepare for the new year. The good news is that it’s not too late to start.
Action: Take 10-20 minutes to ask God to reveal to you the ways in which you have not been present to Him or His people over the past 12 months. Allow Him to enlighten your mind to the ways you have fallen short of your mission.
Once we have recognized our failings, God does not insist that we stay in the past. Isaiah 43:18-19 inspires us: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
God wants to do something new inside our hearts and lives in the new year. To discover what He desires for us, we must return to what we discovered during our time of reflection. The ways we previously fell short of our mission in the past become opportunities to reconcile ourselves with God and persevere in the new year. We are called to make firm resolutions to turn from our sin and shame and instead embrace the joy that awaits us in union with Christ and His Church.
Your resolutions don’t have to be complex; they should be clear and actionable. The key is to begin small. For example, if you discovered in your reflection that you had often put off tasks or struggled with self-discipline, you could set an alarm for the same time each day and make it a point to get up on the first ring. It is also important to not overwhelm yourself with too many resolutions. Often, when we try to do too much, we end up doing nothing at all.
Action: Consider your previously reflected upon shortcomings, and make resolutions that will help you grow in the areas you are lacking. Write these down and place them somewhere that you will continually see them.
Once your small act of self-discipline, as per the action above, is mastered, consider moving onto something else. What is the next step you can take to grow even deeper in self-discipline? This could be waking up earlier and praying the Rosary or committing to work out every evening before dinner.
While the new year offers a new start, our entire lives are a journey toward Heaven. There is no clear finish line this side of Heaven, so we must continually grow and persevere in our walks of faith.
A consistent prayer life and receiving the sacraments regularly are what will nourish and allow us to continue to persevere in the new year. It is beautiful to remember that the Rosary is agift from the Madonna herself, offering peace, a greater focus on God, and Mary’s guidance as we follow the will of God in our own lives.
Consider making the Rosary a regular part of your new routine this year. If you don’t know how to pray the Rosary, you can follow along here. Our Magnificat Rosalet also presents the Rosary as an exquisite jewelry piece that allows you to wear your rosary, so you are never without it! Discover the beauty of the Magnificat Rosalet here.
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