I’ve been toying with the idea of intermittent fasting as the new year dawns; “toying” being the operative term here. Why? First of all because if I’d already committed to the discipline of intermittent or any sort of fasting at all, I’d be doing it already. Secondly, I wouldn’t be talking, writing or musing about it – again, I’d just be doing it already. However, I am human. Embracing a new discipline takes above all, discipline! That is to say that once a decision is taken, action must commence. As long as I’m just contemplating, I don’t have to do anything. There’s a perfect 12 Step saying for this condition: “Nothing changes, if nothing changes.”

The New Year is one of those markers in time when we tend to think about making changes. We look ahead from the old year and promise to be better in the new one. OK, so let’s do it! What does it take to actually swing into action? In my case it takes faith … not a lot, just enough to know that whether I like it or not, I’m heading in a right direction. I’m moving toward health or truth or even hope. Otherwise, why even contemplate a new beginning?

Changing our behavior can happen because we’ve become uncomfortable as we are; or it can happen because we’re persuaded that life will be better if we quit this or adopt that; or we find hope in something new where we did not in the old. Altering the route to work is a simple change that can bring unexpected joy when beautiful mountains pop up over the horizon or Spring flowers catch your eye or an elegant deer suddenly appears with a fawn on the roadside. Participating in a volunteer mission to serve people in need is a change that can bring unexpected joy into life. Adopting a spiritual discipline – regular prayer, meditation, fasting or journaling can result in peace and hope that did not even seem possible before.

It’s a new year and a great time to make a new beginning because when something changes, something changes.

Peace to you, SJ