A Mindful Strategy for a Resilient New Year

As this New Year dawns on us, how about we donít set rigid New Yearís resolutions, but instead see this year as a practice. There is some implied rule within resolutions that weíll actually stick to them and when we donít, we set ourselves up for the same old habitual mind traps that have kept us stuck in the past. ďIíve failed once again,Ē arises leading to a sense of sluggishness and the next thought, ďWhatís the point.Ē Thereís another way.

Itís important to set goals for ourselves and create plans to reach those goals; this is the underpinning of cultivating hope. Hope is our greatest antidepressant.

There are a few steps we can take to make a resilient New Year:

  1. Expect to stray Ė This is just a fact of life that sometimes we refuse to own up to. Weíll almost always wander with the goals we make. Maybe we commit to exercise and then we get sick or we set a path for meditation and our minds get caught up in daily busy-ness while days go by without practice. One scenario or another of your behavior wandering is going to happen, so now step #2.
  2. Don’t Judge Ė Your behavior wandering is not a good or bad thing, itís just the natural course of someone trying to make a change. Simply notice that youíve wandered and where you wandered to so you can burn it into your memory and notice it sooner the next time. 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 #3.
  3. Refocus Ė Gently bring yourself back to the plan you had created or see if it needs revisions.

Itís important to keep an open heart toward yourself as you practice; itís not going to be perfect so the question is can we accept the reality of our imperfections? If youíre perfect, youíre not human; unless we reframe it by saying weíre perfect with our imperfections.

Thereís no need to wish you good luck, because making change is not about luck, itís about having a good strategy of being kind and compassionate with yourself as you continue to wander off and gently guide yourself back to the object of focus.

So Iíll wish you a good heart during this year!

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

Reposted from Elisha Goldstein’s Mindfulness Blog on Psychcentral.com

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