Taking your New Year’s resolutions to God, one small step at a time

New Year's resolution, Catholic, prayerMaking New Year’s resolutions is easy enough, it’s keeping them that is tricky. But it is possible, especially with a little help, or maybe a lot of help, from God.

As it states in Corinthians, the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be maintained for Christ, so look to the Lord for spiritual assistance with resolutions.

Lose weight
Every year, this resolution is at the top of the list. Experts suggest making goals specific and attainable.

For example, change your daily beverage to water instead of soft drinks or sweet tea. Don’t feel you have to do away with them all together. Allow yourself one, at lunch maybe, but the rest of the day, stick to water.

Another small change is to alter one unhealthy eating habit. Skip the white mocha latte and eat a healthy breakfast, or trade in the high-fat snack for fruit or nuts.

For those who have the determination and discipline to go whole-hog, Catholic hospitals across the diocese offer free weight loss programs and nutritional counseling.  

Catholics can also try Light Weigh, a 12-week program that incorporates the lives of the saints and Bible study with food suggestions and group support.

Christy Brown, who attends Our Lady of Grace Mission in Indian Land, said she was involved with the program at her previous parish and would love to see it offered at a church near her now.

“It helped me so much on a spiritual level,” Brown said. “The whole idea is to [lose weight and be healthy] for Christ.”

Susanne Fowler, program creator, said all a group needs is a DVD player.Light Weigh teaches people to achieve peace with God, then themselves, and then food.

Exercise more
Hand-in-hand with losing weight comes the pledge to exercise and get in better shape.

The biggest obstacle in achieving this goal seems to be lack of time. But research has shown that those who exercise for just 10 minutes three times a day are more successful than those who managed 30 continuous minutes, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. So take a brisk walk around the block before you eat and admire the results.

Another study from the college showed that people are more motivated by group sports. See what recreational activities are available and choose one you like.  

Quit smoking
People who have broken the nicotine habit say it is the hardest thing they have ever done.

Bon Secours St. Francis Health System offers programs, counseling and lots of tips for those trying to quit.

First and foremost, Bon Secours advises, set a date and when it arrives, quit completely.

Before that day, determine when you are most likely to smoke and make an alternate plan. For example, if you’re feeling stressed, grab your rosary and pray, or take a quick walk and talk to God.

Fowler, with Light Weigh, said addictive behaviors come about when we try to fill the hole in our heart that can only be filled by God.

“He is the missing piece that then gives you perfect peace,” she said.

So whatever your resolution, take it to God.

Father John Catoir, of St. Jude Media Ministry, recommends a peaceful two minutes before you go to bed to talk to the Lord and listen for his answer.