Updated: Nov 10
What a year 2020 was, and one I doubt we will all soon forget. 2021 has not started as we hoped for and has left people feeling the need for change. Now is the ideal time to include mindfulness in your life.
The Life Coach Directory https://www.lifecoach-directory.org.uk/memberarticles/new-year-resolution-2021-mindfulness-tips published this article I wrote.
The start of a New Year inspires the need for change and the good intentions to make and keep these changes. Often, people find they start the year by joining the gym and buying new and expensive fitness gear and then by March, it's packed away, collecting dust.
What follows are some tips to easily bring mindfulness into your life and help keep those 2021 resolutions and changes in play.
Tip 1: Don’t be afraid to fail
Over the Christmas period, I read a brilliant book by John Krumboltz called Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win'. This book is aimed predominantly at careers, but the philosophy suits anyone. It is about living your life, being creative and taking chances; not waiting for life to happen to you, but instead going out, creating opportunities and making it happen.
Follow your hopes and dreams; if it doesn't work out, learn from them, take those lessons with you, and grow. But never, ever, stop trying. This is the essence of Tip 1.
Make a list of all the things you would like to achieve this year. Then choose one of them, but instead of going big, start small. Sometimes, we lose momentum and interest when we go all in and set big goals. Keep that big goal in mind, but start with little rewarding milestone steps. Those you can experience a sense of achievement for quickly.
For example, you decide this year you want to lose weight. Keep that big-weight goal in mind, but start small. Introduce small changes to your diet and reward yourself for eating healthily for a week. Then, the next week, up your game and include one exercise day.
By taking it a step at a time, you can enjoy a sense of achievement and forward momentum to keep that motivational energy going.
Thomas A. Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
We should never fear trying and failing because with every action, we learn, we adapt, and we grow.
Tip 2: Be Happy. Be Creative
This is not easy, I hear you say. True, we all live with different circumstances. But if you are unhappy, look for activities that make you happy, are creative and most of all, follow your instinct. If your job makes you unhappy, think about a career change.
Write a list of all the things that make you feel good and ensure you include them in your daily life. Perhaps you love art but have not drawn since school? Buy yourself a colouring book and get colouring. It is surprising how relaxing and mindful this can be!
Action: What does your happy place look like?
According to the American Psychology Journal, you should have three pleasant experiences for each unhappy one. If this is currently unbalanced, think about what you want from life. If your job is making you unhappy, make an appointment with a career coach for guidance and support, or turn to a friend. Small changes can lead to big things!
The butterfly effect - Sometimes, doing the smallest thing can open up a world of opportunities.
Tip 3: Random Act of Kindness
I kid you not; it is scientifically proven that happy people are happier when carrying out acts of kindness. So why not, one day a week, carry out a random act of kindness? Keep it simple, it does not have to be anything big to be beneficial to others.
Sometimes, simply calling a friend or smiling and saying hello to a stranger is enough to make a positive impact. Especially in the current climate, when everyone is so segregated from each other.
Action: What could you do today to help someone?
Tip 4: Embrace the Journey
Life is filled with ups and downs; sometimes it can feel like you have more down days than ups. Life has an ebb and flow to it, and it is learning to trust your instinct and listen to your inner voice that‘s key. Again, I can hear you say this isn't easy!
This is where mindfulness comes in. Create 10-20 minutes a day of space just for you. Find a quiet space to take those 10- 20 minutes and just breathe. Perhaps sit or lie in a relaxed position and try a simple breathing routine.
Action: Breathe in and out from one up to 10 and then 10 down to one. So, breathe in, to the count of one and then out to the count of one. Breathe into the count of two and out to the count of two. And repeat up to 10 counts.
Then repeat the same but work backwards. So, breathe in, to the count of 10 and then out to the count of 10. Breathe in, to the count of 9 and out to the count of 9 and keep going back down to one.
Tip 5: Two is Better than One
Now, this is not just about romantic relationships. It is about seeking out people who can support you on your life's journey. Life is about making connections. Some great apps like Bumble BFF exist to connect and foster new friendships. You may already have people in your work network who could turn into good friends. Reach out, and you may be surprised by who reaches back.
Overall, remember it is not a one-way street. Happiness in life is about give and take and being there for one another. When you reach out for help, others may reach out, too, so make sure to reach back.
Remember: Start small, stay positive, take those first steps and create beautiful memories along the way.