Step 1: Stop aiming to change your actions.
Instead of simply trying to change your actions, aim to change your heart. If you open your heart to God’s grace, your heart will be changed, and your actions will follow suit.
Step 2: There is no step 2. Step 1 is all you need to do… over and over and over again.
When we aim to modify our hearts, we can shift our focus from saying “NO” to “stuff” to saying “YES” to God.
A few years ago, I thought that I could set a magical date and on that date I would “give up” all of that gratifying activity, and “poof,” suddenly become a better person. Of course when that date came, I would just set another significant date down the road… just so I could do it “one more time,” a few times over and over again—to make sure I was “ready.”
But I was forgetting one major thing and that was this: We become who we practice to be; we become a further entrenched version of who we are today. It’s that simple.
In making resolutions year after year, I was lying to myself. I was absolving myself from my responsibility to say YES (to self-control). Instead I was saying NO, and having a pity party about all of the activities that I would no longer let myself do (even though my heart still desired them). I did not have a plan or support in place to help me see beyond the NO. Thus, every moment in the NO was like torture.
It wasn’t until I experienced the joy of Christ (through people like you), that I began to open my heart to saying YES to God’s Will. It helped me see the world through the lens of YES to self-control, and as I write this, with grease from last night’s warmed-up leftover pizza still glistening on my fingers (when I last caved), I am reminded that this YES to self-control applies to all areas of our lives, not just sexuality.
See, if I can’t say YES to self-control while driving by a pizza place at 3:37am, then how on earth might I say YES to self-control to something (or someone) much more enticing? That thought has ruminated in my head for the last five years or so. It reminds me that I really wanted to experience the joy of self-control, instead of the hopelessness that followed from being controlled by my desires.
And here I am today, making the resolution to open my heart to Christ fully—and to no longer pretend that putting a Band-Aid on a bursting dam will solve the leak. Today I rebuild the dam, one YES at a time.
These are my “little victories,” and by the grace of God, they have helped me become who I am today.
As for resolutions? Just one.
Hudson Byblow is a teacher and Catholic speaker who lives in Saskatchewan. His passion is helping others find their way to a deeper relationship with Christ. He likes old cars, traveling, and long walks on the beach (and anything else to do with sunshine). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.