January 14, 2022

Joyful Witness / Kimberly Pohovey

Combine spiritual resolutions, personal goals to succeed in life

Kimberly PohoveyAnd so, another year begins, and many of us follow the age-old tradition of setting new year’s resolutions. Have you ever set a resolution or two at the beginning of January only to find that you’ve let yourself down by February? Popular resolutions include weight loss, increased exercise or other superficial goals that may or may not work, but will never fill the God-sized hole within us.

So this year, I’m going to concentrate on spiritual goals. And I’m going to make them attainable, so I’m not left feeling guilty or beating myself up for not sticking with them. I often start out gung-ho, but as my enthusiasm wanes, I eventually reach a point of giving up. Honestly, sometimes I just plain forget over time.

Quite a few years ago, I set a goal of losing weight; however, I coupled it with praying the rosary. I managed to lose 40 pounds that year by praying the rosary while I worked out. Maybe God rewards a goal when we are inspired to persevere through prayer? Hedging my bet, I’ve decided to combine goals with an enhanced prayer life.

Practically my whole adult life, I have worked too hard. And in recent years, it has been easy to experience the blues over my health issues. As I get overwhelmed by work or personal circumstances, it is easy to lose sight of a deep spiritual life. So for 2022, I’m going to concentrate on balance and joy through daily prayer, intentional discernment and asking God to present opportunities.

Balance. I always prided myself with a hard work ethic and was easily annoyed with folks who did not put in 110% effort. But honestly, due to either aging or life circumstances, I realize how important balance is for every part of our life—balance between work and home life, balance when eating or drinking alcohol, maintaining balance in our mental health.

Not too many years ago, I would have told you that work-life balance were just buzz words, but I have to admit that younger generations who actively practice this are on the right track. To do this, I plan to spend more time in prayer asking God what he wants of me. And, I hope through more intentional discernment, to figure out what God is not calling me to.

Joy. When you are experiencing stress in your life—whether marriage or family-related, health-related or maybe due to financial issues—it is easy to get down. Due to some personal health problems I have experienced in recent years, I have found myself feeling blue more than I consider acceptable.

This year, I plan to focus both on the word “joy” as well as seeking joyful experiences. I plan to surround myself with items that say “joy” on them as a reminder to myself that I can choose joy every day. And in terms of seeking joyful experiences, my plan again is to turn to God in prayer, asking him to present me with joyful opportunities and then to inspire me to say “yes” to them.

As I’ve said, my past resolutions have been easily derailed. This year, however, I plan to allow myself the grace to forget or screw up, and then encourage myself to pick back up where I left off and try again. I’m guessing God would prefer I try again over and over than to just surrender.

This year, how might you combine spiritual resolutions with your personal goals to help yourself stay on track and deepen your spiritual life?
 

(Kimberly Pohovey is a member of St. Jude Parish in Indianapolis. She is the director of major and planned gifts for the archdiocese.) †

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