By Haley Arndt
Hands up if y’all can’t keep a New Year’s resolution. Yeah, I’m with you.
I am seriously so bad at keeping resolutions. I can’t even keep them going into February. Let me enlighten y’all on just how much I struggle with it…
Last New Year’s, I made the resolution to consistently journal (I strive to have journals upon journals full of aesthetically-pleasing, profound spiritual insights like those of the saints, but instead I’m definitely one of those people who will journal for three days in a row and then take a six-month break… no joke). Well, my resolution lasted two days. Y’all, I only kept my New Year’s resolution for TWO DAYS. The next time I wrote in my journal after January 2nd was in June. How sad.
Since I am terrible at keeping New Year’s resolutions, I thought it would be a great idea to write a whole blog on how to actually keep a resolution. Because that totally makes sense! I don’t really know what the Holy Spirit was doing when He led me to write about this, but hey, here we are. But with His help, we have created a stellar, 110%-guaranteed, three-step plan on how to keep your goals for the upcoming year. #ThankGoodnessForTheHolySpiritComingInClutch. And it’s called, “Haley and the Holy Spirit’s 3-Step Game Plan for Makin’ Your 2k19 New Year’s Goals HAPPEN.” (I should probs come up with a shorter name for it, but personally I think it will trend). Keep on reading below to get all the deets my friends.
Step 1: Choose a goal that you want to work on.
Well, duh. That seems pretty obvious. But since this is a Catholic blog, I’m going to talk about choosing spiritual goals that will help you grow in holiness and virtue throughout the New Year. Yeah, having the goals to exercise more or to get better grades are great (seriously, I really think that they are). But c’mon guys: Jesus. He’s what matters the most. So choose a goal that will help you dig deeper in trust in and reliance on our Heavenly Father. Here are some ideas to help you think about a goal to work on:
- Choose a spiritual book (or books) to read throughout the new year. Dynamic Catholic has TONS of solid reads for you to choose from that focus on different areas of spiritual growth; check ‘em out. Or, if you are feeling really adventurous, choose some writings from the saints to read. Or just choose a spiritual book that you think sounds interesting! I’m working on reading a chapter each day from Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. There are some really good, convicting truths in that book, guys.
- Attend Confession monthly or weekly. You can never go wrong with making it a consistent habit to reconcile your soul with God.
- Choose a saint to focus on throughout the year and allow their life and writings to change your heart and interior life. Use the random saint generator that’s online to choose your saint (you bet that it’s a thing, and it’s almost as cool as the rap name generator).
- Work on breaking an unvirtuous habit such as gossip, complaining, impurity, sarcasm, etc.
- Journal consistently (lol).
- And when in doubt, ask the Holy Spirit for enlightenment as to what your goal should be. The Holy Spirit knows what’s up.
Step 2: Find someone to hold you accountable in your goal.
Throughout my journey of writing this blog, I’ve reflected on why I suck so much at keeping resolutions. And I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the big reasons is because I didn’t have an accountability partner.
Accountability, friends… That’s where it is at if you wanna be successful in keeping resolutions.
If you keep up on Christian social media, you may hear the phrase “accountability partner” thrown around A LOT. So, what is accountability, and why is it the biggest deal since the invention of sliced bread? (Was the invention of sliced bread a big deal? I don’t know, it was the first thing that came to my mind).
An accountability partner is basically a close pal in your life that holds you responsible for your goals. They check-up on you and remind you to keep striving towards greatness and virtue. I don’t know about y’all, but when I have someone consistently texting me in the mornings asking if I am going to morning Mass, I am much more likely to actually get out of my bed when my alarm goes off. (Shout out to my BFF Jess for being the real MVP at holding me accountable this semester).
When choosing a pal to be your accountability bud, it’s important to ask someone who you know will be able to actually hold you accountable through bold honesty and consistent openness. I like to keep this verse in mind when thinking about accountability:
“As iron sharpens iron, so man sharpens his fellow man” (Proverbs 27:17).
In other words, our accountability partner should also be chasing after the Kingdom of God with us. They should be striving for sainthood with us. Those are the people you want helping you out.
Step 3: Be gentle on yourself.
We are going to struggle and fall multiple times. That’s just the reality of it. We are humans. When you fall, don’t give up on your goal completely.
I went to Confession the other day and the priest told me something real profound and very relatable to what I am writing about in this blog. He told me, “Jesus fell 3 times on His way to Calvary. And He used one of His own creatures to help him back up.”
We are allowed to fall on our journey to Heaven. We are allowed to fall when trying to be the best versions of ourselves. It’s okay to be imperfect because none of us are Jesus or Mary. So, when you fall, don’t stay down. Get back up. And, like Jesus, let those around you help you get back up. That is what your accountability partner is there for. Forgive yourself for taking a six-month break from journaling, remind yourself of your goal, lean on God because we cannot do this alone, and then go for it again. God’s got you whenever you are striving for His goodness. Always, always remember that, friends.
Boom. There you have it. Now you are ready to have the most successful goal-keeping year ever. Go get ‘em, friends.
I’m praying that 2019 is a year filled with deep conversion for both you and me. I’m also praying that I can actually keep my resolution this year.