A new New Year’s resolution to ponder

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Practice Mindfulness

  • Lose weight
  • Finally get organized
  • Join a gym
  • Be more punctual

The end of December is notorious for New Year’s Resolutions that are destined to change your life for the better. But by January 2nd we tend to feel that familiar sense of dread and defeat. We all love food, organization is just another word for time consuming torture, gyms are pricey, and punctuality? “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

So what are some changes you can make in 2016 that won’t make you question your sanity? The answer may be a buzzword that’s been tossed around for a while now. Celebrities say it, blogs are built on it, and even Oprah swears by it. It’s “mindfulness,” and it’s actually not as intimidating as it sounds. It sounds pretty trendy and cool, but what does it actually mean?

The simple answer comes from Psychology Today:

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.”

So instead of vowing to get up at 5am every day to clean your house or spend an hour sweating at the gym, consider small changes that make you more present in your life.

  • Put down the smart phone when a little one asks you to read a book.
  • Take a 10-minute break to read a chapter in your own favorite book.
  • Ask a friend, “How are you?” and then really listen to the answer.
  • Notice the sunrise.

Or reflect on some of these ideas from Mind Body Green:

  • Write down your top three priorities for the day, first thing in the morning.
  • Listen to music.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Slow down!
  • Or practice “transformational listening.”

What exactly is transformational listening? Basically, the sum of being mindful, Mind Body Green posts it’s the act of listening fully, free of agenda, the kind of listening that “makes life sweet.”

Improving your life in 2016 and beyond isn’t as painful as you think. But hey, if you really do want to join a gym, that couldn’t hurt either. The real point, is that whatever resolution you choose, act on them slowly enough to appreciate the moment you are in. If you do want to eat healthier, chew those bits of kale slowly, taking in the flavor. Even better, take in the flavor around a dinner table with family. Move leisurely, think clearer, and with a few deep breaths now and then remind yourself that this moment, the one right now, is the only one shaping your life. Now go ring in 2016 for the “sweeter life!”

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