Turning over a New Leaf in 2016: Revelations and Resolutions
I’m sure you’ve had the experience of suddenly realizing you have misunderstood something for a long time. For example, a friend of mine thought that in the Christmas song “Reindeer pause” was “Reindeer paws” until it dawned on her that reindeer have hooves not paws. Just as I began pondering this new blog, I had the revelation that turning over a new leaf does not refer to a leaf on a tree but rather the page in a book! Here at the brink of the new year we have the opportunity to write a new chapter in our life story. It is the traditional time to make resolutions. I prefer to think of it as a time to set ONE important goal that I will really concentrate on. (Too many goals tend to be forgotten. Plus it’s discouraging when you fail to reach them!) On a website I discovered five tips for setting a good or SMART goal:
It should be
Specific and include motivation and a plan for carrying out the goal.
Measurable with a clear result aimed at and a definite means to measure progress.
Achievable, something realistic for you (but challenging).
Results-focused, able to see concrete results.
Time-bound, with a timeline that urges and motivates you to attain the goal but allows for some slip-ups.
To this list I would add God-inspired. In quiet prayer ask God to enlighten you about what goal he would like you to set for yourself. If you are reading this after the new year, it’s not too late to decide on a life-changing goal.
Of course in this special Year of Mercy, an appropriate goal would be related to it. Perhaps to practice one of the works of mercy, or to forgive people who have hurt us.
I’m going to choose one thing that will make me a better (and healthier and happier) person and outline a plan based on the above tips. Hope you find them helpful too. Another tip is to write down your plan and chart your progress.
Incidentally, on New Year’s Day we always celebrate the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. She is a pertinent piece of God’s goal to save the world. With her “yes,” creation was set on a new course. And we are all the better for it. That is why this feast deserves to be a holy day of obligation. We might ask Mary, who is also our mother, to pray for us that we have the determination and stamina to keep striving to reach our goal this year. I wonder if Mary had set new goals for her life what they would have been. Maybe visit the sick in Nazareth more often. Show Joseph more often that I appreciate him. Take out time from my daily chores to play with Jesus more.
May the goal you set for yourself make for a Happy New Year for you!
I have written the five tips you shared in my notebook, and added your suggestions as well. Thank you for giving me some inspiration and motivation. I appreciate your weekly entries, and am grateful for each of them. May the new year be holy and happy for you and your readers.
With faith and hope,
Dear Mary, it makes me happy to know that you find my writings useful. May we both have the grace to “turn over a new leaf” this year in regard to something. Blessings, Sister Kathleen
A Happy and Blessed New Year Sister Kathleen!
As a student finishing up my Master’s in Theology – and planning to work on a PhD – I’ve found myself very busy. I still get up at 4:00 am for contemplation, but I feel I’ve neglected my more formal prayer life. I’ve decided to pray at least part of the Divine Office daily, something I used to do with the Carmelites. I think it’s beautiful, and I enjoy it, I’ve just found myself a little too absorbed in school. Balance is necessary.
Thank you for your blog posts. Like Mary, I find them interesting and helpful.
PS For years I sang “Silent Night” and assumed the lyrics “Son of God, loves pure light” meant that the baby Jesus loved pure light. It didn’t dawn on me until this year – yes, this year – that Jesus IS “Love’s pure light!” Quite embarrassing for a theology major and an almost lifelong choir member!
A holy, happy new year to you too, Gabrielle. Thank you for your comment. It makes me wonder what else we have been misunderstanding all these years!