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.
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!