This year, I’m trying a different kind of New Year’s resolution

Enjoy each dayEach year, it’s about something I want to achieve in the future. Do this. Stop doing that. Sometimes I've kept my resolutions but most times they quickly faded. I don’t remember any of them. So this year, I’m going to try a different kind of resolution:

Enjoy each day.

What I think that means

Enjoy could mean so many things. More exploring. More excitement. More fun. But while those are all good things, they’re about seeking something extra or new. What I intend is quite different. It’s to see and feel more in every day as it is. Instead of changing my days, I’m resolving to change me.

Thich Nhat Hanh expressed this idea in a quote I happened upon just yesterday:

“Whether this moment is happy or not depends on you. It's you that makes the moment happy. It's not the moment that makes you happy. With mindfulness, concentration and insight, any moment can become a happy moment. Happiness is an art.”

To enjoy each day I’ll have to be aware of the many moments comprising the day and appreciate those moments. Like any art, it will require practice.

How I’ll do it

To be clear, my new resolution seems impossible for me to achieve. I might as well resolve to be a concert pianist though I can’t play a note yet.

I’ve learned a few tricks, though, that might give me a chance. Here are there I intend to use:

Keep a journal. Reflecting on moments throughout the day will help me appreciate them more and increase my sense of fulfillment. Over time, I hope the repeated act of reflecting and writing will train my mind so I’m more aware of the moments as they’re happening.

Practice gratitude. When I wake up and before I go to sleep, I’ll think of things I’m grateful for, including moments throughout the day. I’ve tried this and it’s a simple, pleasant ritual that has made me feel happier.

Chart my progress. Just as Ben Franklin used resolution charts to cultivate 13 virtues, I’ve used them to help me develop new habits. So I’ll put my chart in a place where I’ll be sure to see it before I go to sleep, and each day I’ll track my journaling and gratitude habits and to note whether I’ve enjoyed the day.

I'm sure there will be times when I'll notice my chart at the end of the day and think “I forgot to enjoy today!” But I’ll still have a few minutes to reflect, appreciate, and be grateful. Doing so will change my experience and my memory of that day.

Time, lost and found 

I’ve lived more than 18,000 days. How many of them have gone by without me noticing? Have many have I rushed through - even wished were over - just so I could get to the next one? Time has flown because I’ve been careless with it.

I hope to see 18,000 more days. I resolve to enjoy each one.

I’ll let you know how it goes.