Today is the dawn of the New Year. So you’re probably working on a list of things that you’d like to get done in 2015. Well, I’d like to ask you to forget about making these resolutions. Forget about deciding on the first day of January how you will be conducting your life in September, some nine months later. Any resolution that involves making decisions about future behaviors is a waste of time. It also reinforces the self-defeating notion of living in the future.
For 2015, wouldn’t you rather live in the present moment?
This day that you’re living right now is the only day you get. Period. You can resolve to be skinny when next July rolls around, or to quit smoking next month, or to write that book you’ve been meaning to, or to embark on your overdue exercise program by the end of this year. You can go about resolving until the cows come home, and you still have to live your life just like everyone else on the planet: One day at a time.
You can only live minute to minute. You can certainly use up your present moments thinking about what you’ll be doing in the future, but that doesn’t change the fact that you can only live in the now. The important question to be asking yourself is:
How am I going to live in the present moment this year?
Will I waste these moments reviewing the way I used to behave? Will I waste these moments reviewing how I would like to behave in the future rather than resolving to live each day to the fullest?
The New Year is a good time to initiate a plan so you can make some changes and help live your life to the fullest. See if you can practice thinking differently. Decide very specifically what it is that you would like to change about yourself in 2015. If you have some goals in mind, vow to work on them day by day rather than making them a year-long project.
When you set up day-to-day goals for yourself, you can begin living this way for the rest of your life. Remember this little piece of advice, which will be extremely helpful to you if you can incorporate it into your life: When you go for one entire day without eating sugar (or not smoking, or being assertive, or any other new behavior), you are a totally different person at the end of that day. What you must learn to do is let that totally different person decide on the second day whether to do it again on this new day, rather than letting the same old person decide today that it is going to be difficult in a couple of days anyhow, so what’s the use. Always let the New You make the decision, and then you’ll be living your present moments.
Remember, you are in control of all thoughts in your head. When you are using up your present moments to worry about the future, constantly reviewing the past to come up with how you should have done it differently, or contemplating disaster, remind yourself that you are wasting this particular present moment.
Practice cancelling out negative thoughts for a few minutes at a time. Vow to enjoy the next five minutes regardless of what has previously transpired or what you think is about to happen. Remind yourself of the folly of wasting your present moments on mental activity that focuses exclusively on your past or imagined future. All of your thoughts about what you should have done, or how terrible things were in the past will not change one tiny slice of the past.
As you celebrate this New Year and each precious present moment, here are 10 reminders to help you live in the Now:
1. Remember that habits are changed by practicing new behavior. By practicing new thinking every five minutes, you’ll soon begin to master the art of present-moment living.
2. Do an honest assessment of your “problems.” You’ll very likely discover that almost all of your problems are really in your head and not located in reality.
3. Take time to be mindful of everything around you. Begin to look at your entire surroundings in a new light. Observe every detail on every face, every building and every object. If you do this often enough it will become a habit that will facilitate your being alive in every moment of the year.
4. Change your attitude. Begin an attitude-redevelopment plan. That means practice enjoying everything you do.
5. Be specific about what you want and take action. Decide on one thing that you would like to work on and do it today. Work at it daily, rather than making it a long-range objective.
6. Create a self-improvement agenda for yourself. Put on your agenda whatever activities you’ve always thought about but never had time to do. Do them now.
7. Rid yourself of mundane chores that are not really that important. Spend more time making your life a pleasure.
8. Eliminate procrastination as a lifestyle. Instead of talking to yourself about what you are going to do next week or even tomorrow, use this time to start a new task.
9. Don’t give up control of your life to others. You cannot enjoy the present moment if you are busy trying to make everyone else like you. People respect you more when you operate from a position of strength and self-reliance.
10. Feel good about yourself. You are a magnificent human being. Always feel good about that self that you are always with.
For 2015, as I have for many other years, I vow to be fully alive and see the world the way Walt Whitman described it to be many years ago: “To me…every cubic inch of space is a miracle.” I really believe that.
I wish you a New Year filled with many miracles. May you live a long and productive life—one present moment at a time.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer