Ten Changes That Will Start You Off on the Right Track for the New Year

by Gregg Krech

The New Year: We Begin Again

We tend to enter a new year with hope. Hope that things will get better. That our health will improve. That our suffering will diminish and that life won't be such a struggle. It seems reasonable to enter a new year with hope, but I wonder if such hope serves as a distraction from appreciating the life we already have. The monk Ho Sen wrote the following New Year's haiku:

Another year passed --
Empty rice sacks remind me
how lucky I am

We would expect that if Ho Sen's rice sacks were overflowing he would feel very fortunate. If you have excellent health, or great wealth, or a wonderful home . . . it's not really that hard to be grateful. And yet even with such obvious blessings, we easily turn our attention to other areas of life where we struggle and hope things will improve. But Ho Sen is reminded of his good fortune by empty rice sacks. Would we be able to look at an empty bank account, or an empty refrigerator and be reminded of our good fortune?

As we begin the New Year it is easy to forget how lucky we are to be alive. It is easy to take our life for granted -- to feel entitled to another year as if another year of life was nothing very special. It is easy to get caught up in our own suffering and express hope that things will somehow change. But can we rise up to the challenge of relaxing into our life just as it is? Can we discover gratitude for our life just as it is -- for the struggle as well as for the joy? Our life is an adventure. This year is a new chapter in a mystery where we never know what's going to happen. New opportunities. New challenges.

A new year. We go forward. We fall.

We get up. We begin again.

new year fresh start


Click on the above image to download the complete article (PDF) on changes for the New Year.

Related Ideas...

  1. Japanese Psychology and Procrastination
  2. Living with Purpose

The ToDo Institute’s Offerings


Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self- Reflection

By Gregg Krech (Stone Bridge Press).

This is the most comprehensive book on Naikan available and was awarded Spirituality & Health Magazine’s “Best Books of 2002” book award. Read a sample Naikan essay from the book.

Order the book from the ToDo Institute’s on-line bookstore. Correspondence can be sent to Gregg Krech.

Other Recommended Reading...


  • The Concise Little Guide to Getting Things Done by Gregg Krech and Linda Anderson Krech
  • A Natural Approach to Mental Wellness by Gregg Krech
  • The Anti-Depressant Fact Book by Peter R. Breggin, M.D.