Why I Hate New Year’s Resolutions

I strongly dislike New Year’s Resolutions.  And cats.  I used to like both of them, especially cats.  Cats are cuddly and cute and fun to annoy.  But at age 21 I developed a fairly serious allergy to my adorable (and thoroughly insane) cat, Charlie Chaplin.   Whenever I’m around cats now, my eyes itch and swell, my nose runs, and my skin itches like it’s on fiiiiiiire.  I don’t care how much of an animal lover you are, when something gives you that type of reaction, it’s easy to start disliking it.

I’m starting to feel the same way about New Year’s Resolutions.

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Just like cats, the thought of resolutions makes me feel all cuddly and warm. But the actual resolutions themselves?  Turns out I may be allergic.

Why?  Because I fail at them.  Every time.  I’ve been making resolutions for going on 20 years now and I can honestly say that not a single one has stuck.  Oh sure, I’ve overcome some bad habits (I hope) over the course of my life, but not a single one has been as a result of a NYR.  In reflecting on all the changes I desperately want to make in my life, I began an overwhelming mental list of all the areas I am lacking.  Sleep.  Health.  Service.  Creativity.  Parenting.  Organization. Kindness.  Selflessness… The list goes on and on.  I read Kelly’s inspiring post about her New Years Resolutions and the sins that she’s working on and well, I may as well print that list out and take it with me to my next confession, along with quite a few additions.

Last week, I spiraled down into a dark place.  A place where I couldn’t think about anything other than the miserable failure that I am.  I have no willpower.  I have no strength.  I am feeble and – fine, I’ll say it – pathetic.  I almost piped in to ask you all to pray for me, but something held me back.  Something (Someone) told me to wait, to pray, to ask God instead of spreading my misery around like a nasty head cold.

So ask I did, in the most sincerely distracted, completely half-hearted way possible.  As plain as the nose on my face, I got the resolution I was looking for.  A whole-heartedly clear voice told me: Give up.

Give up trying to change the little things.  Give up trying to fix your health and your habits on your own.  Give up all the pride that spurs you to speak harshly to and about yourself.  Give up.  Give in.  Let go.

I can’t fix myself, as broken and sinful and miserable as I am.  I can’t do it, my friends.   *I* can’t do it.  That’s what’s causing this anguish and tearfulness, this struggle, and yes, this despair.  I cannot make significant positive changes to my life.  But I know Someone who can.  I know this because He is the only one who ever has.

Just as the panic was about to set in (WHAT DO YOU MEAN, GIVE UP???) I heard another word.  Transform.

It didn’t take long to see where this was headed.  God wants me: little, weak, helpless prideful, beloved creature that I am, to get the heck out of the way.  Alright, Big Guy.  I get it.  Imma let You have Your way in my life.  Go ahead and get your “transform” on.

For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

Turns out my word of the year, my New Year’s Resolution, they aren’t mine after all.  They belong to Him who made me, to Him who loves me beyond measure.  The good news is that I’m almost sure I’m not allergic to the Holy Spirit.  And hey, if we get to December and I’m not transformed, you can always blame it on Him.

Comments

  1. I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. You are so right, only God can transform us. Prayers.
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted…Weekends with Chesterton: Hope (and WIWS)My Profile

  2. I’m right there with you.
    I loved reading this and how your viewpoint was transformed. All good to keep in mind!

  3. what a great post. thanks Micaela. it’s nice to depend on the the One who made us 🙂

    • Funny how our independence can often bring so much frustration, right? Thanks for commenting, Judy. I hope I get to see your face for real soon!

  4. Amen, sistah! I’ve just had a whole other level of revelation about how “I can’t do it” can translate into an awesomely intimate relationship with God by reading St. Therese of Liseux’s stuff. If you haven’t read any of her stuff yet, rather than starting with her autobiography you might try “The Way of Trust and Love” by Jacques Philippe, which can be used as a kind of “retreat in the midst of your real life” resource. Dios the bendiga!
    Anna recently posted…Give us priests after Your own heart…My Profile

  5. Oh Micaela! I get so disillusioned, too. I’ve used that word to describe myself – pathetic. I fail so often that I half want to give up. But I won’t, I can’t. I’m in this for the long haul, God! So I need your help for sure! Let’s pray for each other, okay?

  6. Oh do I know spiraling downward weeks like this. And a month or two here and there, and unfortunately, probably one year as well. I can remember asking in desperation at one point to a very holy friend, “is change even possible???!!!” And her answer was so similar to yours. God bless you, friend!
    Rebekah Es recently posted…Seven Quick Phone TakesMy Profile

    • So glad that I’m not the only one who has “given up” with the hope of staying holy. Sometimes it seems impossible to be *that* open to God’s will.

  7. Okay, just clicked over here from your last post about your accidental resolution and I seriously could have written this post myself. Oh friend, pray we do get to meet and enjoy each other over coffee some day! Hugs and pray for me 🙂 The last part of Advent that rocked me seems to be spilling into the new year. Looking forward to my first confession like none other before!
    Amanda recently posted…2014 in Photos: Begin AgainMy Profile

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  1. […] mentioned last year, I kind of hate New Years Resolutions.  They usually make me feel weak and useless and, well, like a failure.  So last year I gave up […]