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Pastor's Corner - Fr. Bac-Hai Viet Tran

Fr. Bac-Hai Viet Tran

Greetings and blessings from God!

Finally, everything is getting back to “normal,” or maybe “normal” is not the right word, I should say back to the old routine (that’s politically correct). Christmas and New Year of 2017 are completely over. So, this weekend is the first week after New Year’ Day. So far we are six days into 2018. How do you feel? Better or worse? Richer or Poorer? Younger or not so young? Happier or so-so? Did you make any New Years Resolutions? So far, did you keep it? Or did you already break it? Don’t worry, we still have many, many more days to make it up again. Whatever happens, I just want you to be healthy and happy.

Most of us have a habit at the beginning of a New Year to make a resolution. Early in January is always filled with resolve, promise, correcting mistakes, and being better physically, spiritually, and emotionally, but as time goes by, by the end of February that resolve is often turned to regret. Oh, don’t worry, you have plenty of time to make up for it, if we just try to do one good thing every day for the rest of our lives, then I’m sure each of us will be better every day, and God will be very pleased with it. The most important thing is to keep trying, don’t give up. If you fall, rise up again and keep moving.

A few years ago, in the Times Picayune there were ten tips given out for setting a New Years Resolution that would help us to actually stick with it. Yes, I still find it to be very fascinating and practical that everybody could do it, so I am going to share it with all of you again.

1. Set smart goals. The first problem is that we make statements for our resolutions and not goals. Such as, I want to lose weight. That is not a goal. They said, instead we should say, “I want to lose five pounds or ten pounds by the end of April.” That’s a goal. Be more specific about what we want.

2. Envision the end result. Setting a goal is just the first step. The second step is envisioning what the end result would look like. Such as, if your goal is to fight less with your spouse, you need to say to yourself, “I know my goal will be accomplished when such a thing happens.” You should make a mental picture of yourself and make it appealing. The mental picture can range from a snapshot of yourself sporting a new beach body to an image of your newly organized kitchen.

3. Create a timeline. Getting fit, organizing your home, spending more time with your loved ones, paying off a debt, etc., etc., is clearly the most common New Years Resolution we have. But that it is why it is important to set a timeline. To help us to stay in focus. Suppose if your goal is to get organized, promise yourself you will have your bedroom closet cleaned by the end of March. Or paying off the debt at the beginning of September.

4. Define your motivation. No goal can be met without proper motivation. The tougher the task, the more motivation you will need. Take time to define why you want to lose that weight or why you want to stay in close contact with your family members. Write down your reasons, and then give yourself regular reminders of them. Always surround yourself with motivation. Such as, if the Victoria Secret swimsuit catalog inspires you to exercise, then take a page and tape it to your bathroom mirror, or select a photo of your grandparents or your loved one if that helps you to remember to call them.

5. Get your tools ready. It is so easy to put off your tasks when you don’t have the supplies ready. So, sit down and write out the tools you need to achieve your goals. Then you don’t have an excuse not to do it.

6. Block out time. Make sure that you have time to do it everyday and stick with it. Organize your schedule everyday. No matter what happens, if it is raining, sunny, sleet, flood, hurricane or snow.

7. Know your weakness. The best way to deal with temptation is to get away from it. Don’t let it get close to you. Suppose you like sweets, don’t go to the chocolate shop and say that I just want to try to handle my temptation.

8. Identify your strength. Identify the bright spots and examine the behavior that is surrounding them.

9. Find a partner or a support group. Commit to your goal with a friend or find a support group. It will help you with accountability.

10. Get help from a professional. Most of us believe that we can do it alone. That is why we fail. A trainer’s help is always better than by yourself. Try it on your own for a few times, and if it doesn’t work, then it is time to get help.

And may I add another goal to the list:

Be kind to one another. We cannot love everybody, but at least we can be kind to each other. Always remember what goes around, comes around. Yes, you don’t have to love everybody, but at least you can be kind. Do to others the same as you want them to do to you. Above all, be faithful to God and make God a priority of your life, because no matter what you have and what you achieve, if you don’t have God in your life you have nothing. Everything we have is a gift from God, and you know that God can give and God can take it away. So enjoy what you have and more importantly share what you have with others who are less fortunate than you. Learn a lesson, the gift of sharing. We checked into this life with an empty hand, and we will check out of this life with an empty hand. I hope this resolution will help you as much as myself. But most importantly, get close to God daily. God Bless You! Again, Happy New Year!

Fr. Bac-Hai