Editor's Note: Today, I'm thrilled to welcome Br. Mark Thelen, L.C. to our CatholicMom.com family of contributors. Br. Mark is a Catholic seminarian from Ann Arbor, Michigan studying his third year of Theology in Rome, Italy. God willing, Br. Mark will be ordained a priest in December of 2012. I hope you will join me in praying for our very first seminarian contributor -- I know Br. Mark will appreciate our support and will love hearing from you in the comments section below. Be sure to visit his blog CampionProject for a wonderful dose of inspiration and to share it with the young men in your lives who may be listening for their own vocational calling. Welcome Br. Mark! LMH

5 Step New Year's Resolution Thermometer - How Healthy are They? are We?

Here's a great quote for New Year's I came across yesterday:

Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Mark Twain

A little depressing, but how true. January 1st we make a firm decision, on the 2nd we're already having second thoughts. On the 3rd, third thoughts, and by the 4th, we've forgotten.

So how healthy are they? Are they going to make us happier, better? Or not?

1. When did I come up with them?

A. During Christmas dinner after the third serving of Christmas cake.

B. While surfing the internet on New Year's Day.

C. While on vacation over the holidays with time to say thanks for all the blessings last year and to see things I need to improve for 2012.

2. What are they about?

A. Following a diet and workout schedule that will finally give me the perfect body - biceps, abs, and all.

B. Getting everyone else around me to change so that I can finally accomplish something this year.

C. Changing my own attitudes and motivations to focus better on what truly matters (God, family, and friends) to find real joy for myself and help others be happier - working toward a perfect soul!

3. Are they positive or negative?

A. They all include the word "not". There are just so many things that I don't like about my life that will have to change.

B. None of them include the word not because after reading option A, I realized that I should be more positive. So I rephrased them all.

C. I am convinced that I am called to something new and greater this year. God wants me a better man and closer to him. My resolution is a positive effort to reach that goal.

4. How challenging are they?

A. They can be accomplished within a week because every year is the same - I can't remember them for more than a week and even if I do it is just long enough for a guilt trip since I haven't fulfilled them.

B. They are real goals, ones that I won't finish until I die (and I'll have to live to 90 at that) because they are the only ones really worth reaching anyway.

C. Realistic goals that will challenge me daily but can help me to make concrete progress this year. I realize that it will take a lifetime to bring the project of my life to completion, but I do this year by year, month by month, day by day.

5. Who or what motivates me?

A. I need to change, and I will hold myself responsible to fulfilling my goals so that I can reach my full potential as me. (Is there any other, I's, me's, myself's, or my's that I can stick in.)

B. It is all about the others in fact, I don't think I'll waste any time on myself.

C. After looking at the challenge ahead, I realize I need to change and grow not only for me but for my family and friends. Ultimately I want to live up to my Creator's plan for me and bring others to fullness in their lives.

How are your resolutions? If you answered anything other than C above (or still haven't made any), you might want to look at them. The important thing is not a work of literature or art but a practical tool that will pave... no, not hell, but true joy and heaven for you and those around you.