My tradition with my children at the start of a New Year is to walk through the old calendar and remember the year past. What did we do? Where did we go? What days did we celebrate? What events did we survive?
We ask ourselves, “What acts of grace did we receive through the love and kindness of others?” and “What did we ourselves do for others?”
What were our best experiences and what were our most challenging?
What did we learn? How did we grow?
I’ve taught my children to seize each day – to be open to spontaneity and the beauty of each day, and to grasp the fleeting moments we have to help others and make a difference.
My children are now old enough to recognize that we seem to accelerate in our passage through time. Each year passes more quickly as does each and every day. To use our time most wisely, we must be more deliberate, consider what matters most and walk in the direction of our dreams.
The holidays were a time for celebration but also an opportunity to reflect.
What are your goals for the coming year? What is your strategy to achieve them?
My friend wants to eat more healthily, and his strategy is to eat a salad each day. To keep it fun and interesting, he will use a variety of ingredients, including nuts, beans and fruits.
My patient wants to improve her cardiovascular conditioning. Her strategy is to start aquatic fitness classes at our community pool. To stay on track and make it social, she’s going to go with a friend.
Another wants to improve his relationships, and his strategy is to express his positive thoughts and feelings about others. He plans to follow the example of the Dalai Lama who said that he may still get angry but he won’t hold a grudge.
Not everyone is keen on New Year’s resolutions. In elementary school, I had to make a list each year. Many grownups have given up this ritual because of memories of failed resolutions.
But I still make my list of priorities after considering the most important areas of my life.
Because our time each day and week is precious, for everything we add to our list, we must remove something else. How can we decide what to do and what to stop?
Ask yourself, “What brings greater value to my life and the people around me?”, “What must I do?” and “Of my current activities, which are really a waste of my time?”
Consider four questions.
- What should I do more of? Stretching? Strengthening? Cardio exercise? Calling old friends?
- What should I do less? Eating out? Snacking? Driving? Drinking with friends? Watching TV? Working and playing on the computer? Looking at my phone?
- What should I cut out? Smoking? Napping after supper? Hanging out with bad friends?
- What should I add to my life? Language lessons? Meeting new people? Creating art or music? Writing?
This is your life. This is your year. This is your day.
What will you do with it?
Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician. For more on achieving your positive potential in health: davidicuswong.wordpress.com.