This new year, we invite you to dream! Reflect on where you are, in your spiritual life, with work balance, and with your physical health. This is not a time to cast judgments on yourself or on others, but a time to simply assess. New starts can be very helpful aids in setting goals as they are an opportunity for us to establish habits. But, as many of us have experienced throughout our lives, keeping a new year’s resolution is not always easy. So how can you better set yourself up for success this year? I want to challenge you to look at your resolutions differently!
You were created and willed by a loving Father. This truth can often be forgotten or cast aside due to our own insecurities, failures, and past experiences. However, this truth must be reclaimed, and it must be at the forefront of our understanding of dreaming and goal setting. In his rules for the discernment of spirits, St. Ignatius of Loyola says, “It is proper to the good spirit to give courage and strength, consolations, tears, inspirations and quiet, easing and taking away all obstacles, so that the person may go forward in doing good.” We must not listen to any voice of condemnation of the past, but be encouraged to strive to move closer and with more intensity to the flourishing life the Lord desires for us.
When setting new goals, it is helpful to be specific. What is the area in which you desire to grow? How have you been successful in this specific area in the past? How do you want this specific area to look in the future? When creating a goal, ask the question, “how can I live more fully”. This should not be condemnation of what hasn’t worked in the past, but about how you can achieve the flourishing God is calling you to this year. It may involve asking the question, “how can I be more present for my family” or “how can I better manage stress so I can be less distracted in prayer”. Focusing your goal setting to specific areas can aid you in making your goals more manageable and so more attainable and long lasting.
A key to creating manageable change is being realistic. What do you realistically have time and ability to incorporate into your daily life? What fits into the season of life that you are in? Sometimes it can be good to challenge ourselves, to stretch ourselves past what is comfortable, but we must be mindful not to set goals we are unable to achieve. Setting a realistic goal helps to avoid the condemnation that can occur when we fail to achieve our unrealistic goals. A single woman may have more time for personal prayer and exercise than a mother of three. If that mother begins to condemn herself based on what she used to have time for, she will remain stuck in the condemnation instead of looking at how she can flourish in this season of life. A good starting place can be to create a daily schedule. What are you spending your day doing? Where in your day do you have time to incorporate more prayer, meal prep, exercise, etc.
Support and Accompaniment (Health Coaching and Spiritual Direction)
We are made for community! When establishing new habits, it is essential to realize you are not alone. Whether in be sharing your ideas with a spouse, a friend, or your health coach (😊 it’s what I’m here for), the support you receive from journeying this path with someone is crucial. One of the primary goals of health coaching is to have someone to listen, to ask you questions about your desires, what has worked in the past, and to help you set and achieve manageable goals. If you are interested in learning more about this process, feel free to click the link below to schedule a coaching intro call with me (available for all members in our Whole Health Sharing and Whole Health Community levels).
Establishing goals and habits for our whole health, in spirit, mind and body, helps us on our path to holiness. The Lord desires you to flourish, to be able to seek him and his mission for your life in a whole way. The more energy we have, the less stress, greater ability to spend time with our children and grandchildren, the more we are able to live fully alive. Living a sacramental life aids in this process, helping us more easily live the virtuous life. When the obstacles that are keeping us from loving the Lord, ourselves, and others are more fully removed (through the Sacrament of Confession), we can more easily choose the good. We are more patient with ourselves and others. Taking advantage of the abundance of the gifts of grace that the Lord desires to bestow upon you is key in our journey for flourishing.
“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”St. Francis of Assisi