8.8 Editor's Pick
December 28, 2020

Ditch your New Year’s Resolutions & Do this Instead.

Another year is gone, and just like a perpetual cycle, we are soon reminded that the New Year is supposed to be different.

I need to start exercising.

I will stop eating junk food.

I need to be more present for my children, for my parents, and so on. 

I will work extra hours and buy a new car.

I need to organize my garage.

(Me as a writer) I will write more.

Whatever your resolutions are, they are absolutely well-intended and good for you. There is nothing wrong with wanting more, wanting to do more, and fix a few flaws.

However, I believe it’s a bit pointless to think of all that only when another year is about to start. After all, January 1st is just another day, just like December 31st. So why do we think of things to be done in the next 365 days?

I am all about resolutions moving forward—resolutions that can be practiced on a daily basis.

In Reiki, we teach our students the principles for living a better and more fulfilling life, and that includes a daily mantra. We focus on today only. As if we only had today. The five Reiki principles can be described and summarized as:

Just for today, I will not worry.

Just for today, I will not be angry.

Just for today, I will be grateful.

I will do my work honestly.

I will be kind to all living things.

Just for today…

It’s pretty common in difficult times like these to catch ourselves worrying about the future and indulge in self-loathing and criticism about our past. But these five Reiki principles remind us that we should be living well and fully just for today.

Honestly, we don’t know how much time we have on earth. Our existence is so brief, and everything is so impermanent and out of our control (for the most part), that it’s important to try to live through our hearts a bit more often — especially in the present.

Great spiritual teachers speak about the importance of the present moment, but we still insist on diving into the past, reliving painful scenarios, or picturing things about our future that haven’t even come true yet (and may never do). That doesn’t mean we cannot think of our past or make plans for the future. Absolutely not.

It’s important to see the past for what it is—memories and lessons. It’s also good to think of the future in a positive way but also understand that the future isn’t real yet—and it starts with our actions right now. The future is nothing but a karmic consequence of our present thoughts and actions.

So instead of focusing only on coming up with a long list of things to accomplish in 2021, why don’t we reserve five minutes in our busy mornings for some self-reflection? We could use the Reiki principles to start off our day in a better mood, but we can also come up with our own principles.

Here is one principle I like to add to that list: “Just for today, I will try to do my best and to be of benefit to all beings.”

Are we really becoming better people just for us, or to the benefit of humanity? Is our need to join an exercise group more important than helping a neighbor who might be struggling? Do we really need to focus so much time on buying something brand new? Is it all really necessary?

Don’t get me wrong, planners. It’s absolutely fine to have your personal goals and desires and even write down your normal resolution list. I myself want to accomplish some personal things this year — we all have goals like these.

But I also believe we need to sparkle our heart’s desire to serve. May we be able to touch someone’s heart with our words. May we have the capacity of helping a friend in need, or even a stranger. May we bring peace. May we leave our selfishness and pettiness behind when we need to act with love.

However, for us to do all that, it’s important to do some self-healing first. As my friend likes to say, we cannot pour water from an empty cup. With the Reiki principles, I remind myself that I can be a better person that day, and then I am able to serve others.

I know some days might be extremely difficult in 2021. We are still dealing with an endless pandemic, millions of lives lost, lots of people without a job, businesses shutting down.

So instead of only creating a vision board for 2021 or a long list of plans, I invite you to focus on doing better on a daily basis—because I know some days we will be out of touch. We will be angry, nervous, and rude. We will have bad days and good days. But wouldn’t it be so much easier if we could live one day at a time?

The sun is shining outside as I type this. So I know that just for today, I will do my best, regardless of what 2021 brings to me. And I would love it if you could join me in that intention.

Let’s create our daily resolutions by wanting to be better and do better for the benefit of all. Just for today.


Read 33 Comments and Reply

Read 33 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Agnes Dodge  |  Contribution: 34,840

author: Agnes Dodge

Image: Candice Picard/Pexels

Editor: Robert Busch