New Day's Resolutions

I've never been much for New Year's resolutions. I know they will fall by the wayside within a few weeks, if not days, so it's easy to say "Why bother?"

Jen has the answer in another excellent Et Tu post. It comes to us from Pope Blessed John XXIII, who wrote something called the Decalogue for Daily Living. This is a kind of ten commandments, with a twist: you just have to follow them for just one day. We can handle anything for just one day, right? With that success under your belt, just do it again the next day. Breaking the big challenges into small pieces makes success a lot easier.

That's the theory, at least. It's plausible enough that I feel like giving it a try this year. Here's the list:

Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII
  1. Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

  2. Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

  3. Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

  4. Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

  5. Only for today, I will devote ten minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

  6. Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

  7. Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure no one notices.

  8. Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

  9. Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

  10. Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness. Indeed, for twelve hours I can certainly do what might cause me consternation were I to believe I had to do it all my life.

Admittedly, anyone who actually manages to do all these things even for one day ought to be a candidate for sainthood. Nonetheless they are worthy goals for 2008. Give them a try. And be sure to read Jen's post for some more good thoughts.

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