This is something I came across many moons ago, and is one of the most useful ‘secular prayers’ that I’ve ever come across. It originated with Alcoholics Anonymous and it’s a most useful approach to take. Apologies if you’ve come across it before, but it’s well worth it a read:
Just for today, I will try to live through this day only,
and not tackle my whole life problem
at once. I can do something for twelve hours
that would appall me if I felt that I had to
keep it up for a lifetime.
Just for today, I will be happy. This assumes to
be true what Abraham Lincoln said, that
“most folks are as happy as they make up
their minds to be.”
Just for today, I will try to strengthen my mind.
I will study. I will learn something useful.
I will not be a mental loafer. I will read
something that requires effort, thought and
Just for today, I will adjust myself to what is,
and not try to adjust everything to my own
desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes,
and fit myself to it.
Just for today, I will exercise my soul in three
ways: I will do somebody a good turn, and
not get found out. I will do at least two
things I don’t want to–just for exercise.
I will not show anyone that my feelings are
hurt; they may be hurt, but today I will not
Just for today, I will be agreeable. I will look
as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk low,
act courteously, criticize not one bit, not
find fault with anything and not try to improve
or regulate anybody except myself.
Just for today, I will have a program. I may not
follow it exactly, but I will have it. I will
save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.
Just for today, I will have a quiet half hour all
by myself, and relax. During this half hour,
sometime, I will try to get a better perspective
of my life.
Just for today, I will be unafraid. Especially I
will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful,
and to believe that as I give to the world, so
the world will give to me.
One thing that I’ve found over the years is that sometimes the very biggest problems and most intractable issues can be resolved by splitting them down in to smaller steps, then solving each smaller problem in turn. This prayer – and I will call it that – attacks the issues of lifestyle and habit in the same way.
Too often we don’t attempt to make major changes in what we do because the idea of keeping those changes going day in, day out, for the rest of our lives, is quite scary. The underlying message here is hopeful; by changing our behaviour and attitude for 1 day at a time, we can gradually build new habits as we go. If we drop the ball one day, it isn’t the end of the world; we just pick up things again from the next day and start afresh.
I’ve put this idea to work myself in recent months; a year ago the idea of doing a blog post every day for the foreseeable future was rather scary; but the realisation that that just broke down to 500 words a day, one day at a time, made it much more palatable.
So…after me…Just for today….