We’re nearly 2 weeks into the New Year. How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? Research says that only 8% of people stick to their New Year’s resolutions, but if you set some spiritual goals for 2021 we want to help you stick with them!
Referring to the statistics about New Year’s resolutions, DeMaria said, “That’s an amazing statistic, that only 8% of people stick to New Year’s resolutions. And I think part of that is because we set unreachable goals, or we set perfectionism as our goal.”
DeMaria pointed out that setting concrete, achievable goals for your spiritual life in 2021 is not settling for mediocrity, but a path to deepening your relationship and friendship with Jesus. But it’s important to have a plan going in.
“It could be as simple as getting a closer look into the Bible,” she said. “The first step is to think about, ‘What is it that I’m really trying to achieve?’ And then, ‘How can I find the materials, the resources, or the plan to get me there by the end of the year?'”
Small but meaningful changes may not be impressive or even something that others notice. But making realistic plans for spiritual growth means you’re more likely to stick with it throughout 2021, and carry it forward into the future.
“Going back to that idea of what can we do to make our goals manageable – remember that the fruit of what you’re doing is not going to be immediately apparent,” DeMaria cautioned. “But it also doesn’t have to be this big flashy thing that we associate with more secular goals. These little interior changes in your spiritual life can be prompted by something as simple as saying the Memorare every day, or saying the Angelus three times a day.”
“Maybe adopt a prayer to be your theme and be with you throughout the year,” she suggested. “Whether that’s the Our Father, the Memorare, or the Prayer of St. Francis. When you’re in that moment of distress, or when you just want to get centered in your day, it’s not moving mountains, necessarily, but it’s incorporating a new thing. You don’t know what graces will come from that.”
One of the graces that can come from intentional, realistic goals for your spiritual life is that if you stick with it, by the end of 2021 it will no longer be a goal, but a natural part of your life. That can then be a springboard to go even deeper in your journey toward holiness.
“We don’t have to get to the end of the year, celebrate the victory, and say, ‘Well that was fun,'” DeMaria said. “The whole purpose of this is to make lasting, life-long change. All of the spiritual life is this long walk toward holiness and toward God. We don’t ever reach a plateau, and we aren’t going to reach the level of perfection because we did something holy this year. There’s always room, and time, and a need and desire in our hearts to grow in holiness and grow closer to Him.”
Listen to the full conversation below: