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Speaking Out: Rethinking your New Year goals

By  Speaking Out, Kathleen Henricus
  • January 9, 2019

Did you know Jan. 12 is known as Quitters’ Day? According to Strava, a social network for athletes, this is the fateful day when most people report failing their New Year’s goals.

This is why I don’t like New Year’s resolutions. They just seem like a set-up for failure. Why should it be that you can only decide to make a life-altering change once every 365 days, only to call it a failure after the first setback? 

To me, New Year’s resolutions represent impermanence — the exact opposite of the lifestyle we build around our faith. I honestly believe that this is why resolutions don’t work. 

Resolutions are often self-centric. Some of us choose to eat healthier or exercise more, while others opt to get higher grades or work harder. These goals are not bad things, but it is the “me, myself and I” journey that fails us in the end.

My faith teaches me that life is about service. We are called to do good and help those who are in need. Catholicism is about community and unity. It is about community-driven goodness and charity regardless of how the wind blows.

And this is the attitude I want to bring with me into 2019. I want to be more thoughtful and aware of other people around me. I want to be a more active part of my community.

It can be something as simple as holding the door open for more people, but I can also challenge myself by doing more street patrols with my parish youth group.

After all, Jesus Christ said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). The most relevant part of that quote to me is “where two or three are gathered.” It’s not about the one, but the two or three. Jesus is present when we come together as a Church, as a community, as a family.

We are not meant to go at life alone and as Catholics, we are not meant to live life in self-service. We thrive on connections and on serving a cause greater than ourselves. We are called to help better the world around us. 

When you resolve to help others, the world becomes a better place simply from your commitment to do good in it. It’s this Christ-like service that should be reflected into a new year, rather than a commitment to limit video game time to one hour a day.

So this new year, if you’re already rethinking the promises you made to yourself on Jan. 1, I implore you to use this second chance to broaden your horizons. 

Try opening yourself up to the world, contribute yourself to the betterment of humanity as a whole. For all the bad life can throw your way, you can be the good for someone else and in doing that good, also help yourself. Take the chance to do real good this year and see what amazing things God can do for your 2019.

(Henricus, 15, is a Grade 10 student at Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.)

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