As the final days of December meet dawn, we begin to look forward to the next major event after Christmas: New Year’s and the Solemnity of Mary! As for the secular holiday and celebration of the new year, many people create New Year’s resolutions that may or may not last through the dragging days of February. But, nevertheless, it is a new year, and a fresh chance to start new. If you don’t have a New Year’s resolution planned, you might find a spark in some simple yet life-changing ideas below.
Instead of trying to banish an old habit, create a new and beneficial routine to deepen and strengthen your faith. Try going to Confession or Adoration more than you normally would (or if you want to go above and beyond, make time for daily Masses). If you only visit the Confessional twice a year, for instance, before Easter and Christmas, make an effort to make a good Penance once a month. You’ll find that the refreshing cleanliness of Reconciliation will bring a calm peace to your days, and frequenting monthly will keep you in check year-round! Adoration has a similar effect; make a promise to visit the chapel as opportunities present themselves. Spending time with the Blessed Lord changes your mood, and you will come out of the Adoration chapel refreshed and at peace. Even if it is just to say “hi” or sit in silence, God loves to see you in His House.
If you want to focus on exiling a certain sin, take this opportunity to do so. Take time to thoughtfully pray, asking God to grant you the serenity and grace to distance yourself from this sin. It may be hard at first, but the key is to immerse yourself in prayer, positive thinking, and positive actions, instead of that awful habit. A New Year’s resolution stays at the back of your mind, and having God to hold you accountable makes for a stronger bind to sticking to your resolve.
Simply enough, make a resolution to pray more. You can never cease strengthening your prayer life. An organized resolve could be to say a rosary or divine mercy chaplet daily or weekly. Perhaps if you start out with a Sunday rosary, you could progress to saying the prayer twice weekly, then three times. The frequency of prayer always has room for growth. Maybe if it is not a specific prayer, resolve to devoting times throughout the day solely to quiet prayer. Wake up fifteen minutes earlier to thank and praise God, asking for His intercession throughout your day’s adventures. At mealtimes, extend your usual prayer to include personal devotions. Conclude the evening with your deepest intentions, and scatter messages to God during the course of your entire day.
Ultimately, what you get out of a New Year’s resolution depends on what you put in. Make an effort, and God will be on the other side to pull you through. Just a slight addition to your lifestyle can make all the difference. Watch as God multiplies your offerings and raises you up—a sincere attempt can only make you stronger. I am praying for all the best for you; happy New Year’s!