By Christopher Simon

Preparing for the new year

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” ~ Lamentations 3:40 NIV

The start of a new year is an ideal time for quiet and prayerful reflection about our lives. What have we experienced in the previous year, and what have we accomplished? What were our successes, and how might we build on them in the year to come? Conversely, where did we fail, and how might we repair those failures, or at least avoid them in the new year?

Surely all of us would benefit from a more faithful prayer life and a commitment to treat our fellow man with more kindness. New Year’s resolutions are notoriously short-lived, despite good intentions. The gyms which are full of eager exercisers in January are often half empty in February.

One way to improve the odds that we will follow through on our resolutions is to ask God for help in keeping them. As the psalmist advises, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1 NIV)
Ask God for help in keeping your resolutions, and consider offering them up to God. It may also help to track your progress in a diary, a notebook, or on your phone or computer. Keep your resolutions simple and realistic and realize that you’re probably going to slip up occasionally on things like dieting and saving money, so don’t fret about occasional slip-ups.

Finally, if there are things you want to do but dread doing, such as exercise, try to pair them with something you enjoy, like listening to music, or give yourself a reward, such as allowing yourself to watch your favorite show after exercising.