- Put down the pen for a brief mindfulness practice.
Before jumping to jot down all your goals for the new year, take a minute to practice mindfulness. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of “coulds” and “shoulds,” scrolling through articles that tell you about all the best (or trendiest) new activities and goals to try out. Take a moment to get into your own space, and think about what’s right for you. Reflect on this past year and what you want for 2019. (Psst. If you’re not sure what to reflect on, here are some great journal prompts to try out!
- Consider the kind of resolutions you want to set.
Health goals often top the list of most popular New Year’s resolutions (exercising, losing weight, quitting substances), but what about mental health goals? Ask yourself: What can I do to take care of my mental and emotional well-being this year? The answers to these questions may not come in the form of goals with concrete endpoints. In fact, many psychologists are suggesting setting intentions rather than goals. Goals imply a focus on ‘achieving’ and and can often induce anxiety when one is not able to achieve at their desired level. Intentions, on the other hand, can help shift the focus away from the end goal and toward the small steps you can make everyday for yourself. Setting intentions can help lower the stakes and remind you that the power in new habits often lies in the daily decision to do them, and not in the (often nebulous) desired future outcome. Here’s a great article with some suggestions on these kind of intentions.
- Instead of change, try out acceptance.
We often hone in on the things about ourselves that need to change, and rarely give ourselves a moment to appreciate who we are already. A lot of current psychological research has shown that self-acceptance plays a big role in well-being. So maybe this year instead of writing down all the things you’d like to change, try writing down things about yourself that you appreciate, or that you’d like to work to appreciate. Instead of focusing on all that you’d like to be different, maybe make a resolution to be more compassionate toward yourself and work to accept (even the difficult parts of) yourself. As a sort of mindful self philosophy, work to be aware of your present self and without trying to change anything!
- If you do go for the classic resolutions, be mindful about implementation.
If the goal you’re thinking of is “lose weight,” take the time to consider the ways you can approach that. Be clear with yourself about exactly what your goal that looks like day to day, and take the time and space to really be aware of your current habits so you can set reasonable, manageable resolutions.
- Build in time for mindfulness in new activities you try.
It can be hard to get into new activities. With each new activity, try taking a few minutes after to be aware of how you’re feeling physically and mentally. If you already have a mindfulness practice, hooking it on to new habits you’re trying to build can help build a positive reinforcement cycle to help it stick. But even if you don’t have a practice, taking the time to check in with yourself can be an important step in building new habits. Maybe you feel physically better after the activity, or maybe you just feel good about having tried it out or stuck through it. Maybe it didn’t feel good at all, and awareness of that can help you decide whether the activity is right for you.
Looking for more strategies to take care of yourself this year?
Check out our upcoming training intensive! During this 8-week program, you will:
- build community with others also integrating mindfulness skills.
- learn multiple practices for ongoing self-care and wellness.
- understand the science behind these practices.
- take away specific tools for mindfully managing all aspects of your life.