Have you ever been in a conversation and been so distracted that you didn’t know what the other person just said?
Eaten a whole bag of chips and didn’t remember doing it?
Driven somewhere and suddenly realized you were at your destination without even remembering the drive?
These are examples of “mindlessness” or being on “autopilot.” Our minds tend to wander, not allowing us to enjoy and savor the present.
Mindlessness is the opposite of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is such a simple concept, and when put into effect daily, it can be extremely powerful. The definition of mindfulness is living in the present moment—of being aware of your body, mind and feelings. This awareness is practiced without judgment or the need to change the moment immediately.
So how can this concept help you right now? Well, it’s that time of year to start thinking about our New Year’s resolutions for 2019. Bringing mindfulness to your resolutions can be life changing and help you to actually stick to your new year’s goals.
Consider the following steps to set yourself up for success in 2019.
4 Tips for Creating and Keeping Mindful New Year’s Resolutions
Reflect on the past year and the new year by writing some things down:
- What are you grateful for? What have you accomplished? What were the highlights? How can you grow? What would you like to change?
- Expand upon your resolutions and things that you’d like to change in the new year. Why do you want this change? Consider these your intentions and make that your main concentration. For example, the most common resolution is to lose weight. Why do you want to do this? To feel better in your own skin? Focus on that intention… I want to feel better in my own skin!
- How will you get there? Instead of focusing solely on the result, focus on the journey. Break this new resolution into smaller components.
For example, I will pause before each meal, take a few deep breaths to calm myself, and eat slowly. This will help me to realize when I’m actually full instead of rushing to finish everything on my plate. Or, I will intentionally move my body once a day, whether that is a walk, stretching, or going to a class at my gym.
Accomplishing these small steps are HUGE. Give yourself some credit and enjoy this progression.
- What does this process look like and what will need to change? Look at the habits that will help establish this new resolution. We have to change our habit loop in order to make real changes in our behavior. Notice the triggers and the results of these habits. For example, when I’m stressed and sit down to eat dinner, I turn on the TV. This distraction does not help me to stop eating when I am full. Instead, I will practice the above… stopping, breathing and checking in with myself before each meal. I will focus and savor the meal instead of being off in lala land.
Keep these self-reflections, intentions and steps next to your bed or where you will see them constantly.
You can reflect on what is working and what isn’t. Explore and figure out what works for you because everyone is different. For example, some people use daily trackers or calendars to track their daily habits to make sure they’re staying on top of them. Dive deep into the nature of these habits and why you do them. Write down when you’re proud of those small steps and how you felt after, or journal as to why something isn’t working and the reason behind it.
The best way to practice mindfulness is with kindness towards yourself, but self-care can be tough! Especially with our new year’s goals or resolutions, we tend to be extremely harsh on ourselves. When approaching our resolutions from a mindful perspective, there is room to make mistakes, know why, learn from them, and turn these resolutions into lifelong habits. You’ll make mistakes and fall out of habit because that’s life, but just pick right back up next time with awareness and compassion.