By this time of year, most of us have given up on our new year’s resolutions, or forgotten we even made them. After writing a laundry list of goals for the new year, it’s easy to soon revert back to living mindlessly – doing the same things as last year, whether we want to or not.
Practicing mindfulness helps us avoid living on autopilot. When we are stuck in our heads, time passes us by and we are surprised another year has passed without any of our desired changes. There are plenty of things you can do to live more intentionally, deliberately and, yes, mindfully.
Here are some tips to help you live this year the way you want to:
Break the year down. Many people find it hard to think in terms of an entire year. It can be helpful to break the year into smaller, more manageable pieces. What would you like to focus on this week? This month? This season? A year is a mighty long time to sustain interest and self-discipline. This way, you have more reset points if you’ve strayed from your intentions. Plus, your goals will likely change and develop as you do.
Create a theme for the year. Instead of writing a long list of goals to achieve, it can be helpful to think of this as The Year of (insert intention here). Before making a decision, return to this intention, and decide which action is in line with your theme. Some examples others have had success with include courage, acceptance and dancing. Establishing a theme for the year (or month, or..) can help you decide which people and activities to invite into your life.
Try not to be overly outcome-focussed or goal-oriented. Instead, decide on a direction in which to move. Choose a habit you’d like to add to your life, without necessarily setting out to achieve a particular objective. Rather than obsessing about the future, mindfulness helps us stay in the present and think about what we can do now.
Set intentions that are actually important to you. Instead of aiming for what others want for you, or what you believe you should want, think about what you truly value most. Changes that are genuinely aligned with our deepest values are more likely to happen and be maintained long-term.
Be sure to acknowledge and celebrate any positive progress you’re making. Remember, this doesn’t need to be upon achieving a particular outcome or reaching a milestone. Moving in the right direction, with focus and intention, is more than worthy of celebration. Mindfulness involves being aware of the reality of this moment, not some distant future point. What’s happening right now that you could be grateful for?