Blog Advice for Your New Year’s Goals by Lisa Fahey During this week in which we celebrate the new year, I often begin to ponder over the events of the past year and maybe you do too. How did another year go by? What went well? What did not go so well? What will the upcoming months bring? We begin to consider what we could improve about ourselves and what we possibly need to move away from in our daily lives. Often this creates some anticipation of what a new year could bring, and leads us to setting our goals for the upcoming 12 months. During the Feast of Christ the King, my priest Fr. Leo, stated during the homily that now is the time to take a look at the past year and reflect on how we have grown in holiness. Great question. Did we stay the same or did we reach higher? After hearing Fr. Leo’s homily, I began to think that goal setting this year should look different. It boils down to one goal; what can I do daily, monthly and annually to strive towards holiness? And then, how can (hopefully) the goals I set for holiness affect others to stretch themselves to a greater place of holiness as well? I had never previously asked how to stretch myself, my family, friends and those I minister to grow so we can all grow in holiness. I have to say if this is the one goal for the whole calendar year, I think it will make goal setting so much simpler. When thinking about HOW I can grow more in holiness for the new year, I look back on the God-given passions or desires that were so strong, they likely scared me. I am reminded, however, that God is the one who put the holy desires in us! These desires are usually something that I will most likely not be able to accomplish on my own (even if I think I can!) Sometimes our tendency will likely be to keep this holy desire from our goal setting if we are truly scared of making those changes in our lives. I used to do that, until during spiritual direction one day, the priest had asked these questions: Who gave you this holy desire? Who are you going to listen to? The One who made you and wills for your perfect good for His Glory? Or the dark one who wants to halt you doing God’s will and bringing God glory? So, back to your new year! Where should you start as you discern out the goals for the upcoming year? Might I suggest, start with a fresh, clean slate. I’d encourage you to make the Sacrament of Reconciliation a priority. Sometimes if you’re like me, I need to reconcile with God for not pursuing the plans that He has for me and get back on the path to leading a more holy life. The next step would be to pray and ask our Lord to make known His plans for you. Take time reading and praying the Scriptures. A good place to start is Jeremiah 29:11. Ask God to open your mind and heart and ponder on this verse. Lastly, it’s good to remember that God wants to be a part of goal setting. The great news is as you stretch towards your holy goals this year, you do not have to go it alone. God wants to help show you His perfect plan for your lives. Isaiah 41:13, states it perfectly, “For I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”(NASB) Now that you have taken the necessary steps prior to goal setting all that is left is to have courage and trust in the Lord. Mother Mary is a perfect example of courage and trust in God. In Luke 1:38, Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” (NASB) I hope as you begin this new year of 2017, you have a few moments to prayerfully take the time to set your goals for growing in holiness for this upcoming year. You’re ready to go beyond your comfort level to draw closer to Him; so be brave and trust in the Lord! Happy New Year!