Have you already broken your New Year’s Resolution?
Maybe you didn’t make one. It’s never too late…
For many of us, the new year is a time to get our “house” in order, whether it be physically, financially, psychologically, or spiritually. Often, we resolve to restart the most ambitious self-improvement projects that we left for dead last year. “Maybe I’ll get it right this time…”
Might I recommend a simpler course this year, whether you’re a teen or adult?
Here are five resolutions (that we can actually keep) to improve our year:
(1) “Good morning, Lord” – Many of us start the new year realizing that our spiritual lives could use improvement, and that we don’t spend enough time with God each day. Vowing to read the entire Bible or the Catholic Catechism in a year is a great goal, though it might challenge even those with the strongest perseverance. Be ambitious in your aspirations, for sure…but how about also taking on a simple resolution that might just brighten each day this year and get it started on the right foot?
One of my favorite Christian vocalists, Sara Groves, wrote a wonderful song that encourages herself to start each day by first praising God. The refrain goes, “Let the first song that I sing, be praises to my God and King.” How about agreeing to start each day this year with a “thank you” to God, and an offering of our day to Him? There are plenty of short morning offering prayers out there. Pick one—or write one of your own—but promise to start each morning by connecting with the Lord in some way before getting started on your busy life. (Then get out that Bible or Catechism and work on your really ambitious goal!)
(2) Random Acts of Kindness – How easy it is to do something nice each day for those in our lives—or maybe for a complete stranger. That’s a resolution that could make the world a better place if each of us would take it to heart. It could be as simple as saying “I love you” to your parent, getting your spouse a cup of coffee in the morning, sending a text to check on how your friend’s day is going, or smiling at the person you pass in the street who looks like their having a miserable day. In fact, when you see the results of a single act of kindness, you’ll want to resolve to do more kind things each day for those whom you know and meet. And in the end, you’ll likely feel better about yourself and the world around you.
(3) I Didn’t Know That! – We’re never too young or old to learn something new. Every single day this year, you’ll likely learn many new facts, whether you’re trying or not. So how about resolving to learn a new spiritual fact each day? It could be as simple as reading a fact about the “saint of the day,” or about one of the books of the Bible, or about the Scripture reading for the day, or about church history, or about a million other possibilities. A daily nugget of spiritual truth can increase our Spiritual IQ.
(4) A Christian Media Tithe – This year, when you’re searching YouTube for a new video to watch, or Netflix for a new show to binge, or Fandango for a new movie to see at the cinema, how about resolving to “tithe” a tenth of your media consumption to God? There are lots of great videos, shows, and movies being produced by Christians, and their production quality continues to improve each year. Imagine if just one out of ten of the shows or videos you watched this year had Christian content? Not only could such a tithe encourage the media moguls to produce more films that glorify God, but it also could help keep the Lord present in all aspects of your life—even your media consumption.
(5) A Single Teen Book – No matter how old or young we are, we can resolve to find time in our lives this year to read at least one new book written for young adults. Why? Lots of reasons. First, good books for teens connect us to themes that will help us grow, no matter our stage in life. Which of us doesn’t need to think a bit more about what we’re supposed to do with our lives—a common coming-of-age theme in most literature for young adults. Second, teen books tend to be more accessible, both in length and complexity, making them more attainable to complete in a few sittings. This is a goal you’ll be able to keep (and will want to repeat throughout the year). And don’t forget that supporting good books for teens is a great way to pass on faith, hope, and love to a new generation.
Need some great teen book ideas? Check out the selections available at CatholicTeenBooks.com.
So, don’t give up on resolutions this year. Find one (or two, or three) that will improve your life each day, and then make them stick.