It’s that time of year again. ‘Tis the season when we all take a look at our lives and decide this is the year that we are going to run a marathon or learn to paint or spend more time with our children or stop eating pizza three nights a week or…. whatever your thing is. While Mindfulness teaches us to be in the present moment, there is also a great deal of value in mindfully setting goals which nurture our growth, foster our joy, and help us realize the best version of ourselves. Obviously, resolutions or intentions can be made at any time and don’t need to be reserved for January. However there is quite a bit of talk about goal-setting this time of year, so if you’re someone who is interested in the idea of setting intentions for 2017, here are some suggestions for the mindfully approaching the resolution process…
Five Steps to Mindfully Setting Intentions for the New Year:
1) Gratitude – Take note of what is good in your life. It’s beautiful to set an intention to grow or build habits that serve us, but also important to take inventory of our gifts, successes and blessings. Then you will be approaching growth and change from a place of “enough-ness”.
2) Set intentions for the new year based on “Self-Love” not “Self-Loathing”– As you are setting your intentions check in with your motivation. Does it come from a place of taking care of yourself and expanding your joy? Or does it come from a place of rejecting yourself until you achieve something, with the idea that THEN and ONLY THEN you will finally be able to love yourself?
Self-Hatred: “I hate my body and need to lose 10 pounds so that I can finally love myself “.
Self-Love: “This is my marvelous, wonderful, amazing body and the only one I get for this lifetime, so I want to take good care of it by making good choices on its behalf.”
3) Expect to stray: This is just a fact of life. We’ll almost always wander away from the goals we make. Change often takes time and doesn’t happen over night. Wandering is inevitably going to happen, so now step #4.
4) Don’t judge yourself: Your behavior wandering off track is part of process. It’s just the natural course of someone trying to make a change. Simply notice that you’ve wandered (A moment mindfulness!). If judgments do arise, “I can never do this.” or “What was I thinking?”, simply note them just like you noted your wandering behavior and move to step #5.
5) Refocus: Gently bring yourself back to the plan you had created or see if it needs revisions. It’s important to keep an open heart toward yourself as you practice; it’s not going to be perfect. If you’re perfect, you’re not human. Embracing our imperfection can help us be more clear, kind, and open throughout our growth process. Realize that you may have to refocus several times and that’s okay! Be kind to and patient with yourself. 🙂
Wishing you all a happy and meaningful 2017!
P.S. If your New Years Resolution includes more mindfulness, I’d love for you to join me in this wonderful new 6 Month Online Course with Elisha Goldstein called A Course In Mindful Living.