We have reached 2019’s final days. And in a couple of days, we will ring in a new year.
When the year comes to a close, I like to pause and reflect on the last 12 months. What were the highlights and lowlights? How did the Lord move in my heart and soul? What consolations did I receive from Him, and how did He lead me through the dark and lonely times?
Then, I look ahead with expectant faith toward the new year. What are my hopes and dreams? What changes do I want to make? How should I set my goals, what should my goals even be?
I jot down a few ideas, put together a plan, and pencil in time to work on my New Year’s resolutions. Typically, the first days go well, but after two or three weeks, the hope I felt toward the new year fizzles. I feel discouraged when my goals encounter insurmountable obstacles. And I realize that without God’s grace and strength, I can’t resolve much of anything (John 15:5, Matthew 19:26, Philippians 4:13).
Perhaps what is missing in my resolution efforts is reliance on the Lord. Trying to do it on my own, with my weak will power and distractible mindset, sets me up for immediate failure.
Perhaps you can resonate with this?
If so, where can we find a consistent dose of heavenly help?
Catholic Books for Your New Year’s Resolutions
In addition to asking for God’s help in prayer and remaining close to the Sacraments, there is a wealth of faith-filled encouragement in Catholic books.
Here are eight Catholic books to support your new year’s resolutions. Listed by category, perhaps one will keep us moving toward our goals throughout the new year.
Exercise more // Lose weight // Eat cleaner
It’s OK to Start With You by Julia Marie Hogan
Losing weight, exercising, and eating clean are considered “self-care.” Caring for ourselves ensures that we are strong enough to live out our mission. Often, however, we feel guilty about doing things for ourselves, even when they benefit others in the long run.
It’s OK to Start With You encourages us to prioritize self-care. It even claims that self-care is a discipline rooted in our identity as God’s daughters! In this book, author Julia Hogan helps us understand why we neglect ourselves and equips us with tools to change our habits.
When tackling a health-related goal, it’s important to remember that our worth is not reflected in how we look or the number on the scale. So, before we set out to improve ourselves, we need to remember that we are enough. Right here, right now.
In You Are Enough, Danielle Bean introduces us to Biblical women who demonstrate how our worth is wrapped up in our identity as daughters of God, made in His image and likeness. She helps us solidify that truth, so we can strive to glorify God and fulfill His will in our lives.
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Declutter // Organize // Simplify
Know Thyself: The Imperfectionist’s Guide to Sorting Your Stuff by Lisa Lawmaster Hess
When our resolution is to simplify, we usually can’t wait to get started. Until we realize that the “tried and true” system is flawed, and the cute containers don’t corral our stuff very well.
In Know Thyself, we learn that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to organizing, because God has created us to be unique individuals who have unique organizing styles. Author Lisa Hess helps us discover our personal organizing method, so we can succeed in ordering and simplifying our lives.
Make My Life Simple: Bringing Peace to Heart and Home by Rachel Balducci
Desiring to get organized could be a goal that only scratches the surface. When life feels chaotic and messy, anxiety and weariness can paralyze us. If only a neat and tidy house could cure the turmoil in our hearts!
Author Rachel Balducci knows how that feels. In Make My Life Simple, she shares her personal heartache and how God answered her plea for more peace and less chaos, more joy and less anxiety. She offers tips for establishing a peaceful home, but more importantly ways to order our whole lives—body, mind, and spirit.
Pray more // Begin a holy hour // Read Scripture
Lift Up Your Heart: A 10-Day Personal Retreat With St. Francis de Sales by Rev. John Burns
Many of us desire to jumpstart our prayer routine in 2020. But how do we begin? How about with a 10-day personal retreat in the comfort of home?
Lift Up Your Heart by Fr. John Burns takes reflections from St. Francis de Sales and breathes new life into them. He applies de Sales wisdom to the modern life and helps us ignite our daily prayer habit.
Praying Scripture for a Change: An Introduction to Lectio Divina by Dr. Timothy Gray
Those of us who pray regularly with the daily Gospel readings and Blessed is She reflections may desire to go deeper in our Scripture reading habit. But what is our next step?
Praying Scripture for a Change introduces us to the ancient technique of lectio divina. In it, Dr. Gray explains how God speaks personally and uniquely to us through Scripture. He shows us how to recognize God’s voice through a lectio divina routine. And when faced with interferences, he offers tips to maintain a consistent and fruitful prayer life.
Develop friendships // Strengthen relationships
Can We Be Friends? By Rebecca Frech
Finding good friends is hard. Maintaining them is even harder. But since we were created for relationship, we crave connection.
In Can We Be Friends?, Rebecca Frech explores why we need friendship, how to nurture our relationships, and even when to let friends go. She outlines different types of friends and how to invite select friends into our inner circle. This book reminds us that friendship gives us a sense of belonging, and it also helps us be our truest selves.
The Friendship Project: The Catholic Woman’s Guide to Making and Keeping Fabulous, Faith-Filled Friends by Michele Faehnle and Emily Jaminet
When life gets busy, we can easily lose contact with friends. Before we know it, we haven’t connected with anyone in weeks, maybe months. The truth is that friendship takes time and effort. And in this busy world, it is challenging to invest in friendship … and find a friend willing to invest, too.
In The Friendship Project, readers explore questions such as, “What does it mean to be a friend?” and, “How do the virtues make me a more compassionate friend?” The authors guide us through Church teachings, stories from the Saints, and personal scenarios to help us be a better friend and seek out friends who will encourage us in our pursuit for holiness, too.
Has a Catholic book ever supported you in reaching a goal or resolution? Tell us about it in the comments below!Catholic Books for Your New Year's Resolutions #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Sarah Damm is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She is a Catholic wife and mother of six children, living in Minnesota. She spends her days running errands, helping with homework, and keeping up with laundry and the family schedule. Sarah loves her faith, coffee, and good books. You can find out more about her here.
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