Making Mindful Resolutions For The New Year
The New Year is upon us and it’s time to shed the old and embrace the new! A new year symbolizes a fresh start and with it comes a list of things we may want to improve in our lives. Whether an actual written list or a mental note of goals, many of us decide to make New Year resolutions to better ourselves. We may promise to lose weight, work out more, quit our job and start our own business, or maybe promise to finally take that vacation we have always obsessed about. If you are anything like me, by the following month you will either forget all about the list of resolutions, or you will realize that the goals you set for yourself are too ambitious and not attainable at all. Does it sound familiar?
Okay, so what I am alluding to is that perhaps we should approach resolutions differently. If we are not getting it right, year after year, then why go on in the same manner? The right way to go about wanting to change is by being aware of why we want to change. This is where mindfulness comes into play. Here are a few ideas that may inspire you to approach New Year resolutions differently by setting goals in more attainable and meaningful ways.
Focus on the Process and Not on the Result
We often make these resolutions that focus on goals, such as “I want to lose ten kilos.” Instead of just thinking of losing ten kilos, we should think of how we want to live healthier and what small changes we can do everyday towards a healthier weight and lifestyle. For example, think about how you can take more frequent walks everyday and take the stairs instead of the elevator. And instead of reaching for a bag of salty peanuts or potato chips for snacking, how about some carrots, celery sticks or edamame beans? Make a series of changes that will make you more active and eat more sensibly.
Focus on the now
Mindfulness is being fully aware of what you are doing in the moment. Be present with all your attention and senses alive and awake. If you eat and multitask you will end up overeating. For example, if you eat while watching TV, you will end up overeating because you are engrossed in something else and eating becomes something you do on autopilot. You should consume your meal in a meditative and purposeful manner. Chew slowly and savor each bite. Listen to your body and you will know when you have had enough. Another way to practice mindful eating is to pay attention to what’s driving you to eat. Is it boredom, sadness or a feeling of anxiety? The next time you have urges to eat, wait and think, “Am I really hungry now?” Maybe go for a walk or do something that keeps you busy when you get those urges to munch and you are not actually hungry. You may even realize that you enjoy this way of losing weight a lot more!
Image Source: https://www.elitedaily.com/p/5-easy-ways-to-practice-mindfulness-in-your-everyday-routine-according-to-experts-9897451
Identify the Habits to end the Cycle
If we have bad habits we want to change, it all starts with self-awareness. First, we need to look at those habits we want to change and understand what sustains those habits. For example, if we want to save more money, we need to be aware of how and why we spend our money. Soon, the winter sale season starts (if it hasn’t already near you) and the temptations to buy things at discounted prices will be everywhere. Most often we buy things we don’t need – only because it’s attractive and it’s on sale. After all, everyone loves a good bargain! Next time you are tempted to buy try to suppress the urge by asking yourself, “Do I really need it?” Will it serve a purpose?” We need to really study our habitual patterns that are allowing the behaviors we want to change. We need to work out what part of the habit we need to change so we can start the transformation of our routine.
Be Easy on Ourselves
When we set the bar up quite high with our New Year resolutions and they fail to happen, we can get frustrated and discouraged. There are always times when we don’t achieve our expectations in life. We need to be kinder to ourselves, so we don’t get discouraged. We should bring kind awareness to our behavior when we fall short or have a bad day. Remember, tomorrow is a new day and we can start again. If we made a mistake today, it’s okay. It’s fine to cheat as long as we are aware, and we can learn from it and fix it. Let’s not dwell on the past and move on!
Reframe how we Approach our Resolutions
Sometimes, by changing our mindset and attitude we find peace with ourselves and don’t feel the need to ask for drastic changes in our lives. Here is a great checklist from mindbodygreen we want to share with you to help you stay on the right track.
- Be kind to everyone you meet — starting with yourself.
- Learn to be comfortable with the unknown. The more faith you have, the easier your life will be.
- Love your body regardless of the number on the scale. When you feel good on the inside, it will be reflected on the outside.
- Choose more foods based on how they make you feel rather than how they make you look.
- Listen to your heart. It knows what your head has yet to figure out.
- Be more willing to accept that things end. An end is the only way into a new beginning.
- Accept that a closed door is the wrong door. Something better will open up for you.
- Start calling your dreams your “plans.”
- Trust that everything is working out in your favor.
Be Part of a Bigger Change
Having said the above, there are many things we can also do to contribute to a better world! Yes, we can also be model citizens and lead by example. We can’t sit around and say, “There is no hope, what can one person do to change the world?” By changing our habits we can indirectly influence what’s going on in the world. We can eat more healthily and sustainably, by choosing organic and avoiding processed food, which is filled with additives and GMOs. We can also avoid factory farmed meat and fish, which like processed food, are bad for our health and our environment. You can read more about the disadvantages of consuming farmed meat and fish here. We can also reduce our carbon footprint by carpooling when we can and walking short distances instead of driving. When we go food shopping we can take our own reusable shopping bags. We can stop using plastic throwaway plates, straws and utensils. With some creativity and reflection, we can come up with a long list of things that we can do to help change the things that seem out of our control. Our actions will also be a good example to inspire others to do the same!
Remember, New Year Resolutions are about making the right changes to improve our lives. By being more mindful we bring awareness to our habits so that we can make meaningful transformations. It’s not that our goals are not achievable, but we may not be starting from the right place to lead to our goals. So try bringing mindfulness to your resolutions list this year. Finally, from the entire team at The Wellness Project, we wish you a Healthy, Peaceful, Inspiring, Joyous and Mindful New Year!