Another new year has begun! Once again, we begin a cycle of 365 days during which we will:
- change the number with which we measure our years on earth
- receive another evaluation at our job
- create a budget to manage our finances and trust our income will keep up
For many, January 1st is yet one more chance to start anew the diet or exercise routine that promises to be the perfect fix. For some, it means hope; for others, the beginning of another round of hopelessness.
What does January 1st mean for you? What would you like it to mean? Would you like to try something different this year?
In the 12-step recovery tradition, we find “catch phrases” or slogans like One Day At A Time, First Things First, and Easy Does It. You’ve probably seen them on bumper stickers. Have you considered how you might apply these simple principles in your life? One Day At A Time always refers to this day, today, not yesterday or tomorrow. And this day, every “this” day, has only 24 hours. Only “so much” can be accomplished. It is vital, therefore, that we look at the endless list of possibilities on the to-do list and determine which items really must be done today and which others we may want to do today. Then, prioritizing, we do First Things First. Having set a plan to tend to the critical first, we proceed with an attitude of Easy Does It. We need not fret or worry. We allow the day to unfold with ease, knowing that we have planned wisely. Often plans go awry, of course, as few of us can really foresee the future. When that happens, we remember that we Plan Plans, Not Results. Tomorrow is another day.
In the 12-step tradition, we also say:
Each Day A New Beginning
Each day, not just January 1st, is a new day. We look backward and take stock of our yesterdays. Is there anything that we need to follow up on? Do we have amends to make or gratitude to express? Are there negative habits we would like to leave in yesterday or positive ones that we’d like to repeat today? As we look behind us, we are careful not to beat ourselves up for past failures. We remember that each day is a new beginning, a fresh start.
We look also at the future, at our tomorrows. Today is another opportunity to create the life we want to experience. We review our dreams and goals, both short and long term. What next steps, always keeping First Things First in mind, need to be taken? Remembering One Day At A Time, we don’t allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by all that needs to change or the many tasks that need to be tackled before we can realize our dreams. We vision the future in order to renew our sense of purpose and hope and to discern the concrete steps that must be part of today in order that our dreams will be fulfilled.
Always we must remember that now is the only time we have. Everything happens now. Looking backward in regret wastes precious energy meant for use today. Endless planning without concrete action steps removes all chances of making positive changes. Each time we waken to a new day, we use the tools of reflection and projection in order to guide today’s steps. Consider this lyric:
This is the moment. Today is the only day. I am alive in the now. Now I am ready to be all that I can be. I am alive in the now! From "This Is The Moment" by Jeanne Loehnis
Every day can be “January 1st”. Every day can be a fresh start that includes reflection, planning, and a return to “now” where it all happens. Each day is a chance to show up and do the very best you can do – for today! Each day is a new beginning and your life begins TODAY!