In case you hadn’t noticed, it is the time of New Year’s resolutions. A tradition in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement that begins on New Year’s Day.

The time when all the world is throwing advertisements for gyms and weight loss, calendars and organisational tools, new gadgets and fashion at us, so that we might better achieve the ways we desire to better ourselves this year.

How long will we last at them? How do we keep New Year Resolutions?

Starting Afresh

As Catholics our constant aim is self renewal. Becoming better people, refined in virtue, keeping it all in balance and love to reach our goal of heaven.

And during the year we are giving many opportunities to start afresh.

The Church’s official New Year began with the start of Advent around 6 weeks ago. Advent brought a period of waiting for Christ. Thinking about Hope, Joy and Love, fasting, almsgiving and growing in virtue. Keeping our eyes on Christ.

What great resolutions to start a year.

Then comes the start of the year, the time we are in now, a time of Christmas and holidays when we are celebrating Christ’s birth. We, along with the secular world, come up with some resolutions we need to work on for the year. We reflect on the past year. It’s joys, successes, miseries and failures. We start afresh.

The Lag of Resolution

This ticks along for a while. By February we are starting to lag a little. We are back to ordinary life and forgotten about the hype of the holidays. Maybe that goal of going to the gym has become a bit tedious, work and children become hard and make us grumpy or tired. Maybe we just became gluttons again, disregarding looking after ourselves and being conscious of what we eat. Or maybe we failed back in week one of January and gave up.

But do you know what comes along on February 10, 2016? Just when you’ve given up hope that you’ll ever get this?

Ash Wednesday. The start of Lent. “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return”.

Another New Year’s call. A call to fasting, penance and almsgiving. A call to grow in virtue and be a better person, to get to know Jesus. Hey, there’s even a call there to be prayerfully mindful of food and what we eat.

And then, after six weeks of that, we get to have another big celebration. The joy of Easter. The resurrection. Our hard work is rewarded with rejoicing.

Nailing the New Year’s Resolution

And from there we reach ordinary time, a time scattered with celebrations of Saints – heroes of faith. Who lived hardships like us and got through it.

Great models of the New Year’s resolution – seeking to better themselves, grow in relationship with Christ, and organise or start ministries to change the world. Or just do whatever they did in their lives well. And they succeeded. They nailed the New Year’s resolution. They obviously became models for us in the form of Saints. And they encourage us to do the same.

So for New Year’s remember your call to self improvement. Join in the fun. But have hope that you’ll be doing this all over again in 7 or so weeks time. Failure is ok. That’s what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for. Jesus built that in specially for us, knowing the human tendency to fail at resolutions.

And we might need some help along the way. Why not pick a saint to pray for guidance to for the year? Check out this great Saint Generator for help.

God bless you all in the New Year.