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TOP 10 Catholic Christian New Year's Resolutions Plus Infographic: What Sort of New Year's Resolution Should a Christian Make?

"Do something beautiful for God. 
Do it with your life. 
Do it every day." 
- Mother Teresa

What kind of New Year's Resolutions should a Christian make? For a Christian, New Year's resolutions are an amazing opportunity to become more Christ-like in the New Year.

How are Christian New Year's Resolutions different from typical New Year's resolutions? Typical resolutions tend to be self-centered. The following resolutions are self-denying or self-sacrificing

As Christians, we deprive ourselves of something for a purpose outside ourselves. We can take inspiration from the ancient desert fathers and monastic practices still in use to this day. 

Below you will find a TOP 10 LIST PLUS INFOGRAPHIC of ancient monastic practices of asceticism adapted to our modern world that make wonderful, Christian New Year's Resolutions.


This secular tradition of New Year's Resolutions - find out how to return this to Christ!
  

Christian Perspective on New Year's Resolutions: What are Godly Resolutions?

Losing weight to fit into our summer swimsuits - maybe that shouldn't be our #1 goal for the New Year. 

Don't worry about these worldly pursuits. God usually has a way of answering these more worldly prayers, too, if we will just put our trust in Him.


But maybe you're not trying to lose weight for superficial reasons. Maybe it's for heart health. Maybe it's a promise to your family and loved ones. 

Try fasting ... 

More on this below:

What Does the Bible Say About New Year's Resolutions? New Year's Resolutions in the Bible

There are three types of Christian New Year's Resolutions that Jesus shows us in the Gospels: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving. We typically see these during Lent, but why not bring them into the New Year?

Jesus gives us Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving to conquer the Threefold Lusts of Original Sin: Lust of the Eyes, Lust of the Flesh, and Pride of Life. Read more on all this in this article I've written on the subject


  

FASTING: New Year's Resolutions in the Bible

Try the practice of intermittent fasting! Pick a day or two a week to fast. Eat only light meals without snacking between meals. Or don't eat all day. 

Why fast? Fast for our country. Fast for an end to abortion. Fast for the salvation of your family and children. OR, just fast and give your sacrifices to the Blessed Mother to multiply blessings and help where help is most needed. 

But fasting is just one ancient Christian practice to try (if you're not trying it already). There are many more options. 

Below you will find a list of ancient monastic and ascetic practices adapted to our modern world. 


Top Ten List of Christian New Year's Resolutions

Have you considered any ancient ascetic practices for your New Year's resolutions? These are both highly powerful and very different from typical resolutions, in part because of their immense purpose and antiquity.

All the techniques listed below are adapted from ancient monastic practices for modern times.

Also, all of the following ascetic practices are also designed to strengthen virtue and weaken vice:

   1. Take short, cold showers. 
   
   2. Practice regular, intense exercise. This is a great response to temptation. It helps rewire your brain away from the temptation. 
   
   3. Fasting: Take Wednesdays and Fridays as days of fasting.
   
   4. Fasting: Abstain from alcohol, desserts, sweets, soda and sweet drinks (white milk, black coffee, and black tea are permissible).
   
   5. Fasting: Abstain from eating between meals.
   
   6. Prayer: Dedicate one or more hours of daily prayer (one hour blocks of time are good), or the next option:
   
   7. Prayer: The Divine Office: Adopt one or more of the 7 daily Liturgies of the Hours, which include Matins, Lauds, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, or Compline (use Universalis.com to get started)   

   8. Abstain from television, movies, televised sports, video games.

   9. Abstain from non-essential material purchases. 

   10. Only listen to music that lifts the soul to God.

   11. Only use the computer for work, school, or essential tasks (e.g., paying bills).

   12. Only use mobile devices for essential communications; cut out non-essential texting, app, and internet use.

   13. Purposefully interrupt sleep patterns with dedicated prayer period(s).



How to Keep Your Christian New Year's Resolution? Accountability Partners!

Want to make sure you actually keep your New Year's Resolution? Get help! Don't go it alone.

Ask your wife, your husband, your friend or friends to be your Accountability Partners. 

Many of the above resolutions came from the Exodus 90 program. Exodus 90 is a 90-Day Catholic Spiritual Exercise for Men. Undertake this great regime of prayer and asceticism with a friend this year. Click on the image below for more information:


Men, want to resolve to break your Porn Addiction this year? Try Covenant Eyes! This program also involves the use of Accountability Partners. Also, if you have a porn addiction, almost all of the above TOP TEN practices will help you break that craving for sinful material. 

Rewire your brain this year away from addictive habits!

New Year's Resolution Devotional: Christian Thoughts for the New Year

Advice from the Saints on New Year's Resolutions

Here's a devotional of advice from the Saints on forming your New Year's Resolutions: 


Advice from St. Gemma Galgani: Christian New Year's Resolutions 

“During this new year I resolve to begin a new life. I do not know what will happen to me during this year. But I abandon myself entirely to you, my God. And my aspirations and all my affections will be for You. I feel so weak, dear Jesus, but with Your help I hope and resolve to live a different life, that is, a life closer to You.” 
– St. Gemma Galgani


Getting more organized with St. Benedict and St. Zita: Catholic New Year's Resolution

One of your resolutions this year may be to to finally get more organized. Here is some advice from Susan Anthony at Busted Halo:

I’ve tried old-school to-do lists and digital solutions, but I still feel overwhelmed keeping up with my schedule, my responsibilities, and of course, the stacks of magazines and mail that threaten to swallow up my desk. While St. Expeditus can help with my general procrastination, I might need to consult an organizational expert on this one.

I thought of St. Benedict, whose “rules” set out how to efficiently run a monastery. Then I read that Benedict was so strict in his organizational skills that some of his fellow brothers tried to poison him. Maybe I will ask for his help sparingly.

St. Zita, the patron of homemakers and house cleaners might be a gentler and more accessible choice to support me. She managed to keep up with the daunting level of chores her demanding employer required while never missing Mass. And all in the days before dishwashers and washing machines.

Have Patience With Yourself as You Begin Your Catholic New Year's Resolutions

"Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them—every day begin the task anew."
– St. Francis de Sales

"Never forget that there are only two philosophies to rule your life: the one of the cross, which starts with the fast and ends with the feast. The other of Satan, which starts with the feast and ends with the headache."
– Venerable Fulton Sheen

What is Christian Asceticism?

The word asceticism comes from the Greek askesis which means practice, bodily exercise, and more especially, athletic training. The early Christians adopted it to signify the practice of the spiritual things, or spiritual exercises performed for the purpose of acquiring the habits of virtue. At present it is not infrequently employed in an opprobrious sense, to designate the religious practices of oriental fanatics as well as those of the Christian saint, both of whom are by some placed in the same category. It is not uncommonly confounded with austerity, even by Catholics, but incorrectly. For although the flesh is continuously lusting against the spirit, and repression and self-denial are necessary to control the animal passions, it would be an error to measure a man's virtue by the extent and character of his bodily penances. External penances even in the saints, are regarded with suspicion. St. Jerome, whose proneness to austerity makes him an especially valuable authority on this point, thus writes to Celantia:

Be on your guard when you begin to mortify your body by abstinence and fasting, lest you imagine yourself to be perfect and a saint; for perfection does not consist in this virtue. It is only a help; a disposition; a means though a fitting one, for the attainment of true perfection. 

Thus asceticism according to the definition of St. Jerome, is an effort to attain true perfection, penance being only an auxiliary virtue thereto. It should be noted also that the expression "fasting and abstinence" is commonly used in Scripture and by ascetic writers as a generic term for all sorts of penance. Neither should asceticism be identified with mysticism. For although genuine mysticism can not exist without asceticism, the reverse is not true. One can be an ascetic without being a mystic. Asceticism is ethicalmysticism, largely intellectual. Asceticism has to do with the moral virtues; mysticism is a state of unusual prayer or contemplation. They are distinct from each other, though mutually co-operative. Moreover although asceticism is generally associated with the objectionable features of religion, and is regarded by some as one of them, it may be and is practised by those who affect to be swayed by no religious motives whatever.

What is the Purpose of Christian Asceticism?

There are several important purposes underlying the practice of asceticism. We sacrifice as acts of solidarity with the poor. We deny ourselves to open us up to God’s grace. We also offer up our sacrifices to God that He may use them to heal the world.

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