January has begun. A week has already passed. You buy new notebooks, new pens; you get that “all new again” taste (and smell) and, with the taste, come the new year’s resolutions you make, wishing to improve what was bad and fix what was lousy!
We all wish for a better life, it’s true. We all have the desire to be happy, to have peace, health and money in our pockets. These are the wishes most often heard after the “God bless you”.
Some projects that you have already thought about were surely these: to get closer to God, to grow in prayer life, to study more, to learn a language, to start working out, to go hiking, to lose 10 kilos, to take specialization courses to improve your career, to have more time with your family, to serve in the Church, to donate your hair to the Cancer Institute, among others…
But what happens that after a few months, several of our projects are frustrated? Why do we give up so easily? Because after a short time we relativize our projects and say : “Hmm, this one is really hard, maybe I’ll try next year”.
Now, let’s talk a little about some reasons that often lead us to failure:
- We think too big – We put unattainable goals into our PVPs¹.
Whether it’s due to lack of time, the complexity of the goal, or the real impossibility of getting so much done in the midst of our daily tasks. Do you know what the consequence of this is? It is obvious that we will not accomplish the impossible. The result is then already paved: frustration and failure.
- We don’t have a certain determination – weak will.
We look at general purposes or we look at the purposes of our friends or any website out there (with the exception of comshalom.org 🙂), admire them and make them our projects. They did not come out, however, from within us, life review and prayer life, but from outside, there where the neighbor’s grass is always greener! Here is the result already foreseen: frustration and failure.
- We do projects that are not God’s will – our own will only.
When we say that whatever is not of God falls to the ground, in fact, it does! When we choose projects that are not of God’s will, we become centered in ourselves and fail to see others and God’s dreams for our lives. We become myopic and try in vain to achieve that which will not fulfill us. And what is the result? Frustration and failure.
How can we get out of this trap? How can we make this year a different year, in which we will actually see how much we have grown and achieved our goals?
- Break down those unattainable goals into several smaller pieces.
It’s no good making a purpose like this, “This year, I will make an effort to go to Mass every day. How about instead, “In the month of January, I will schedule myself to go to Mass every day, and at the end of each week, I will write down the reasons I couldn’t make it to improve in February?” The path here is reversed. Instead of getting frustrated, I will reap the fruits of small efforts, I will feel accomplished and motivated to launch myself even further into the future. Accomplishment and motivation!
- Honesty in choosing purposes that come from within.
It has to be from the inside out! If it doesn’t come from inside of us, it will be too artificial. Within us we find the strength, the meaning, the violence of heart to keep us firm in the stipulated goal. Realization and motivation!
- Put everything before God and, in prayer, contemplate His plans for us.
In this way, it becomes irresistible not to fight for our purposes. God wants my plans to come true! He is the first one who wants to see us grow! He loves our plans, which are also His. Fulfillment and motivation!
- Give up plans that will certainly lead us away from God, or that simply, as beautiful as they may be, are not His will.
What is the use of gaining the whole world and losing one’s life? (Mk 8:36). It is no use choosing what will not bring us into union with God. This requires an authentic prayer life and the search for reliable people, more mature in faith, who can help us discern where our plans are coming from. Realization and motivation!
Still, to have a life project, we need a model. And what will be our model? Those who, although being successful, think only of themselves? The actors and actresses of the big old media who, despite their beautiful bodies, support mentalities against the gospel? On the contrary, Jesus and Mary should be our first models, right after them the saints, whose lives, so close to our reality, teach us to follow Christ and, of course, are also models for us those brothers and sisters at our side, who witness the gospel and live heroic virtues in everyday life.
We must also remember that life is not rigid, but dynamic. Our life projects are not absolute truths and can be adapted as the reality presents itself to us. Let us be open, then, to changes and adaptations. In all of this, we must stipulate periods of evaluation of each project, reviewing them personally and also with a more experienced person, always looking for ways to start over and keep going.
In this way, we will finally contemplate a truly new year, where the old things will have passed away and we will have been born again in Christ. Happy New Year!