I weigh the same that I did this time last year. I have come to the conclusion that either I am very bad at keeping to my New Year's resolutions, or I am picking the wrong ones. I prefer that latter. I need new New Year's resolutions. For those of you who are in the same boat, I am offering a way of self-improvement that is actually soul-improvement. So Happy New Year and help yourself to one of my 5 new New Year's resolutions to make this a ... :

1) Year of the Present - Sometimes it seems that we spend our lives waiting for the next thing and not living today. Waiting for graduation, the next raise, retirement, etc. can take us from living the present most fully. It's good to have goals, but it not good if you're spending your time in yesterday or tomorrow and not enjoying today. Jesus is here today, so find him.

2) Year of Charity - Cardinal Francis Van Thuan, the archbishop of Saigon, was imprisoned for 13 years by the communists in Vietnam from 1975-1988. Nine of those years were spent in solitary confinement. Although he was treated harshly, he decided that his uniform each day would be Charity. He met his guards each day with a smile and kind words. Their cold hearts melted. I think of Cardinal Francis often when I encounter the world's impatience or coldness. Put on the uniform of Charity this year.

3) Year of the Family - Before you know it, they will be grown and gone. You won't be able to call your baby without having to talk to a daughter/son-in-law. When that happens, you will not be thinking about the meetings you wish to attend or wishing that you had put them in another soccer league. When your kids or grandkids are grown, will they only remember the crazy number of activities that predominated their lives, or will they remember hanging out with you?

4) Year of Poor - Pope Francis talks a lot about our responsibility to the poor. He told some students this summer, "Poverty in the world is a scandal. In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it is unfathomable that there are so many hungry children, that there are so many children without an education, so many poor persons." (Pope Francis, Meeting with Students of Jesuit Schools-Q&A, 6/7/13) As one who lives with so much, I recognize that the pope is trying to shake me from a slumber, and I need to take his words seriously.

5) Year of Joy -So often we look for things that make us happy, but they don't last that long. Eat a bag of cookies and it won't be long before you're hungry again. Go to Mass during the week, say a rosary, hang out with the kids, you won't be hungry again. That's joy! At his midnight Mass on Christmas, Pope Francis concluded his homily with these words, "On this night, let us share the joy of the Gospel: God loves us, he so loves us that he gave us his Son to be our brother, to be light in our darkness." A year of joy means putting Jesus in the middle and keeping Him there. If you do that, you and your family will know true joy, and who knows, you may even lose a little weight!