By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
When Deacon Bob Glaser looks back on past New Year’s resolutions, he sees a lot of broken promises.
“I would frequently approach the New Year with a list of things I would either do, or stop doing, a list that would only last days or weeks,” said Deacon Glaser, who serves Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington.
As he got older, he changed the way he made resolutions. Instead of making a specific declaration, he simply decided to do one thing each year to improve his quality of life. In 2016, he decided to focus on improving his weight and eating habits. “It was not something I could change all at once, but I stuck with it, and when one thing would not work, I would look for a different solution. By spring, I realized I could not do it alone and sought assistance through our local hospital.”
He is now 60 pounds lighter than he was a year ago, and with the tools to stay that way, he said. This year, he plans to dive into the art of spiritual journaling.
Clergy and parishioners alike often take part in the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions.
Father Mark Yates, C.PP.S., serves as administrator of parishes in Georgetown, Lovilia and Melrose. He said the biggest problem with resolutions is that they are not kept. “Perhaps the New Year’s cheer clouds our real level of intention and ambition. When making resolutions, keep them reasonable and doable; take baby steps. You can’t run a marathon tomorrow if you only start training today! If need be, make a resolution with a friend who will be a support, a companion, who will help you be accountable in following through with your resolution.”
He encouraged Catholics to consider making a resolution to improve their spiritual lives. “This could include praying more, spending time in adoration; reading Scripture daily, spiritual books or lives of the saints; or giving time in acts of charity.”
Father Paul Connolly, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Dewitt, said his approach to New Year’s changed dramatically on Dec. 31, 1990 — the day his father passed away. It’s a death that may have come sooner had the right circumstances not presented themselves during a heart attack 13 years prior, he said. “As I begin each New Year, I try to reflect on the blessing in my life that I experienced over the past year, and strive to live the New Year as a messenger of God’s love and to help others realize the blessings in their life.”
Father Troy Richmond, pastor of Ss. Mary & Mathias Parish in Muscatine, achieved his 2016 New Year’s resolution to reach his “ordination day weight.” Typically, he makes a resolution for improvement in his health and well being, as well as resolutions to improve aspects of his personal and spiritual life. “I always try to make New Year’s resolutions that are achievable,” he said. In 2017, he hopes to take off an additional 20 pounds to reach his “halfway through seminary weight.”
He advised Catholics to “consider making resolutions that will impact your physical, personal and spiritual improvement, so that 2017 will be a year filled with many blessings, graces, and opportunities for growth as a disciple of the Lord.”