Formal New Year’s resolutions are probably passe, but a new year is nonetheless a natural time to assess last year’s achievements and set next year’s goals. I’m one of those people who send Christmas letters instead of cards. It’s a one-page recap of my year, heavy on travel but also including professional achievements. If I find it challenging to fill one page, I know I need to plan better for the new year – more exploring and more achieving.
There’s plenty of goals we can have besides travel and professional. Health and fitness are classic for New Years’ resolutions. Time with family and friends and developing hobbies are probably popular, too. I’d like to encourage you to develop spiritual goals. I’m thinking about the story of Martha and Mary in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus says, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things; one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41b-42). Let’s choose “the good portion” and plan to grow spiritually in 2024.
We should start by assessing our current practices. Make a list. If you’re reading this, it will probably include Sunday Mass. Maybe it will also include confession twice a year (Advent and Lent) and grace before meals on special occasions. Don’t include things you used to do, like once belonging to a parish group. Review the list for a few minutes when it’s finished. What can you add, and reasonably accomplish, in 2024? Now you’ve got a spiritual goal, whether you’ve made “New Year’s resolutions” or not. You have chosen better part!