Happy New Year! If you’re anything like our team, you’re embroiled in planning, goal setting, and beginning your new year on the right foot. Sometimes in the rush and hurry and noise of this new beginning, we forget to remember to be mindful. That is, we’re still in our usual habits every day, but we’re so focused on planning and setting the “right” goals for the year that we forget to take a few minutes to just be. Here are five tips for keeping mindfulness in the forefront of your life this month.
Five Tips for Staying Mindful in the New Year
Chances are that you feel more motivated and ready to get things done this month, which is fantastic! Use that to get going and build up some momentum for yourself and whatever project you would like to see succeed this year in the long run.
Generally speaking for the day to day, staying focused on the task at hand is extremely important when you’re working toward anything big. If you need to, put your cell phone in the other room to avoid distractions and don’t check your emails until the afternoon or evening. What also works for emails is designating half an hour to checking and answering emails once or twice a day, depending on your specific needs and how many emails you receive (and how many of those you have to actually read and respond to rather than just delete).
1. Don’t get too caught up in the noise. A new year means a fresh start, and it’s easy to get carried away with setting too many goals or taking on too many projects. If you’re planning any major undertakings this year, remember to take a few minutes a day to be mindful, meditate, do yoga, take a walk, or do something relaxing for yourself. Remember, all it takes is five to ten minutes a day to start seeing a difference.
2. Don’t overwhelm yourself. It can be easy to try to get everything accomplished within the first month of the year, then get discouraged and slack off for the next couple of weeks. Right now is the perfect time to take your time! It’s the very beginning of the year, and most people overestimate what they can get done in a day and underestimate what they can get done in a year. Take the time to do some planning for each week, then do your best to follow your plan.
3. Stick with it through setbacks and challenges. Although things don’t always go as planned, it’s still good to have a basic guide in front of you so that you can get yourself back on track if you find that you’ve strayed. Remember, it’s not about being perfect all the time. Rather, it’s about striving for excellence in what you do but forgiving yourself if things don’t go perfectly.
4. Speaking of things not going perfectly, remember to keep an eye out for opportunities. Sometimes when a problem presents itself, a solution will come along very soon afterwards because the universe is responding to your specific needs and thought frequencies at all times. What you’re experiencing in the present is a residual outcome of what you have thought in the past, so when those solutions to your problems seem to “randomly” appear in your path, remember to do your research and take advantage of the opportunities that appropriately present themselves.
5. If you need to take a step back, do so. Because we are only at our most productive about 20% of the time, it means that taking breaks is important, and taking time for yourself is just as important as accomplishing your work. When you work on one specific project for a while, it can seem like all of your ideas start bleeding together and your brain ends up feeling like mush. That’s no way to get things done! Sometimes that’s an indicator that it’s time to switch gears. Do something completely different from what you’ve been doing, preferably something physical. This will energize you and give your mind a chance to rest before you dive back into work.
No matter how you choose to go about working toward your goals, remember to remain present in the current moment. Stay focused on what you’re doing right now, not what you still have to do for the rest of the day. Those nagging worries and feelings will only distract you from what you’re working on, making your work less efficient.
If you find yourself getting too distracted or still wanting to know more about mindfulness, I invite you to check out our Mindfulness Resources page. Here, you will find a number of resources and information on the Mindful Leader Movement as well as the International Mindfulness Federation.