How to Set Your New Year’s Resolutions–And Keep Them!

On New Year’s Day, I was clearing out my desk drawer, and I found my planner from the beginning of 2017. I had switched over to a digital format mid-year and left my pocket Moleskin dormant. I flipped open my paper calendar and there it was: my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions.

Forgotten Soldiers: 2016 Resolutions


To be fair, I am always working on these goals in some respect. For me, part of being happy is loving myself, connecting with others, and creatively expressing myself. When I spend time with my friends, that nourishes me. When I exercise and eat right, that makes me feel really good inside. All of those count!

However, striving towards (and sometimes accomplishing) were not fulfilling my deeper desires. If these resolutions are still on my list a year later, there is something missing. The frequency of integrating those habits on a daily or weekly basis was inconsistent.  I want to be happy / loving myself / making connections / expressing myself creatively all the time! I want to be basking in those frequencies, right now until forever.

Let’s be honest, a year is a long time. It’s 100 million moments. Therein lies the frustration, the cynicism about New Year’s Resolutions, and the subsequent abandonment of these goals.  A lot of people want to improve themselves, to lose weight, to be happy, to make more money, to feel love and connection, to feel secure… These are lifestyles. It’s the way we think, act, and move through this world.

Even the founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui, recognized the need for a guideline for good living. The 5 Reiki Precepts originated from the Meiji Empire (1867-1912) in Japan– over 100 years ago–and were adopted into Usui’s teachings.

Just for Today…

I will not anger

I will not worry

I will be kind to myself and others

I will be diligent in my work

I will be grateful. 

The Reiki precepts are not religious dogma. The precepts are simply a guide, which opens with “Just for today.” When I look at my resolutions through that lens, I’m no longer talking about about the whole year. I’m thinking about today. Here’s how I apply that:

Just for today, what steps can I take to be happy? (get outside)

Just for today, what steps can I take to be more connected? (post this blog)

Just for today, what steps can I take to love myself? (exercise)

Just for today, what steps can I take to express myself creatively? (drawing)

That’s posted on my fridge. THEN I DO THOSE STEPS. And voila! I’ve accomplished my resolutions. I’m not working from a blanket statement of “always” or “forever.” I’m focused on today, and it takes the pressure off. So far, the answers to those questions have changed every day. Some days I need structure and cleanliness. Some days, I need to go hike on Mount Tom clear my head and stimulate fresh ideas. Every day is unique and my needs vary. When I’m diligent in my work, not worrying about it, and being kind to myself, I am much more likely to make today my best day.


Caroline Ruderman, Reiki Master TeacherCaroline Ruderman is a Reiki teacher and practitioner in Northampton, MA and has office hours Monday-Friday, including daytime and evening hours. Like her on Facebook or reach out with questions at



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