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What if I Told You this New Year’s Resolution to Take Some Weight Off?

What if I Told You This New Year’s Resolution to Take Some Weight Off?

I live less than a mile from the most popular Fitness Center in Butte County here in Northern California – In Motion Fitness, and as the New Year is suddenly upon us, I am seeing that annual IndigoFitnessClubZurichPrint108overflow of traffic that comes with everyone’s “New Year’s resolution”. Who has not made that January 1st commitment to shed the holiday pounds?

What typically happens is we shed the weight, and over the course of 4-6 weeks, our “fervor” to work out slowly begins to dissipate. We tell ourselves: “Our resolution has served its purpose, I have lost the weight, and I just do not have the time to work out anymore.” Consequently, we move on from our resolutions, and folks like myself, who live several blocks from a large Fitness Center, do not have to deal with the traffic anymore.

NewYearsResolution1915FirstPostcard3In light of this, it is usually early to mid-February that I am asking myself the same question: what does it mean to have a resolution?  Well, let us consider what the word itself means. The term resolution comes from the Latin resolutio, which speaks to a “process of reducing things into simpler forms”, or “to loosen”.  It would appear our New Year’s resolutions should take stock into that overarching proverb of less is more. Sure, less physical weight may very well lead to more energy, and an overall increase in self-esteem, but our anthropology is body and soul. We could say, the whole idea of ‘loosen’ has as much to do with the need to alleviate the tension in our lives than it does the ‘loosening’ of pants with thinner waist lines.

G.K. Chesterton once said that “the object of a new year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul.” For this reason, it makes perfect sense for us as Christians to have the sacrament of Confession as our lead New Year’s Confessional2resolution. Recall what lies underneath every Act of Contrition: sorrow for our sin, and the resolve to conform ourselves more fully to Jesus Christ. Resolution is the natural outgrowth to genuine contrition. In other words, resolve is the fruit of a good confession.

What’s more, out from the confessional do we feel “lighter”–less “weight” on our shoulders, and more clarity to see the habits that properly belong to God.

Does this mean we give up on our resolutions that have us paying attention to the physical? NO! In point of fact, working out and releasing those necessary endorphins can be very therapeutic to the soul, but to be fully present to the soul demands that our New Year’s resolve should have us thinking about the Sacrament of Confession. More specifically, how our renewed relationship with God can help us see more clearly those ‘things’ which need to be ‘reduced to simpler forms.’

So it is, let our New Year’s resolve include our spiritual fitness!


Art: Indigo Fitness Club Zürich, Indigofitness, 17 November 2015, own work, CCA-SA; New Year’s Resolutions PostcardPostcards2CardsNewYearsResolution1915, modifications made by Ivan Akira, 30 December 2009, PD-US; both Wikimedia Commons. Image of confessional with Chesterton quote courtesy Joseph Hollcraft, used with permission.

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About Joseph Hollcraft

Over the past thirteen years, Dr. Joseph Hollcraft has taught at the Middle School, High School, and University level. Founder of Seeds of Truth Ministries, Joseph is an Adjunct Professor to the Avila Institute and host to the Seeds of Truth Radio program. Seeds of Truth airs daily to the north state of California and can be found as an iTunes Podcast where it reaches thousands of listeners in over 40 countries. In his first book with Emmaus Road, A Heart for Evangelizing, Dr. Hollcraft reflects into the principles of spiritual and pastoral theology, and its impact upon the new evangelization. Joseph has also been published with the likes of The Catechetical Review and the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. Joseph earned his B.A. and M.A. from Franciscan University of Steubenville, and received his Ph.D. from Graduate Theological Foundation with studies being completed at Oxford University. Most importantly, Joseph is a devoted husband and father. He lives in Chico, California with his beautiful wife Jackie, and their four children: Kolbe, Avila, Isaac, and Siena.

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  • Joan

    Thank you for this post. I was thinking about going to confession today and now I will. I especially found “A Resolve For Every Morning of the new Year” really helpful and something I can learn a lot from.

  • SoulCore

    Great reminder and perspective Joseph! Thank you. In keeping with GK Chesterton’s invitation to “have a new soul” and your gentle reminder to include spiritual fitness in our resolutions, I invite you to experience SoulCore ( A new movement that combines the prayers of the rosary with core-strengthening, full body exercise. A 2-for-1 so to speak, in physical and spiritual fitness. Here’s to a spiritually strong 2016!

  • MarcAlcan

    Fasting (rightly ordered) is a great way to lose weight both ways. Physically the kilos come off. The sould is also “toned” and strengthened for the daily spiritual battle.

    That prayer card is beautiful.

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