The New Year is a time of reflection and resolutions. It is a time when many of us commit to implementing positive changes into our lives striving for self-improvement. The hope is at the end of the year that perhaps we may come out happier, wiser or in some way better than when we started. Usually, at this time of year there is an abundance of suggestions and advice on how to make this the best year yet! This year I was particularly inspired by post written by Catholic priest and author Rev. James Martin on the occasion of his 50th birthday. It was a compilation of 12 tweets on the 12 things that he wished he had known at 25. These are the things I took would like to learn and incorporate into my daily living this year – and hopefully well beyond that as well. Happy New Year!
1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It’s useless. (i.e. Jesus was right.)
2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.
3. There’s no right way to pray, any more than there’s a right way to be a friend. What’s “best” is what works best for you.
4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You’re not God. This ain’t heaven. Don’t act like a jerk.
5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God’s desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.
6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God’s grace.
7. Don’t worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.
8. You can’t force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.
9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else’s life falsely. So our real-life loses out. i.e. Compare and despair.
10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.
11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I’m so happy for you! Why not? Yes.
12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you — from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.
— Rev. James Martin, S.J., December 30, 2010, Huffington Post
Rev. James Martin, S.J. is a Jesuit priest, the culture editor of America magazine and author of numerous books, including The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything. He is also the author of My Life with the Saints which Publishers Weekly named one of the Best Books of 2006. Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media. Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business and worked with General Electric for several years. He now lives in New York City.