January is the month of new beginnings. People make New Year’s resolutions to improve their health, wealth and overall being. The excitement of making change can start things off strongly. But then we put away the Christmas decorations, the kids return to school and we return to our old routines. If we miss one opportunity in our resolution, we write off the whole goal as a failure. But that’s just not true. Every day is a new beginning.
We bring baggage to every new day like we bring baggage into a new year. Our experiences, our successes and our failures are packed in our memories. Just because the year on the calendar changes doesn’t mean we automatically change, but when a new year starts we are more motivated to make changes. We can anticipate measuring our success by looking across a whole year. Sadly, knowing we have the whole year also allows procrastination, after all there are 365 (or 366) days in a year!
What if we lived just for a day? What if we put into action our resolution for a day and judged ourselves on that? In our world of instant gratification, taking a day at a time could be very satisfying. Of course, the goals would need to be much more manageable for one day. For example, it might not be to lose 10 pounds, but it could be to eat smaller portions using a smaller plate and exercising for 10 minutes. Or maybe if the goal was to visit the adoration chapel for an hour each week, maybe start with 10 minutes. The next time you could try 10 minutes at a different hour.
Confession is another good way to begin, it wipes the slate clean and we are as sinless as if we just stepped out of the waters of baptism. We don’t need to wait for Christmas or Easter, most parishes offer confessions weekly. And if you don’t want to wait until they are scheduled at your parish, you can make an appointment with your parish priest.
Beginnings are not something you have to schedule on a calendar, they are whenever you make them. It’s never too late or too soon to start. Day or night, a new beginning is when you take that first step to change.