A new year is a perfect time for reevaluating and setting new goals.  However, we’re all too familiar with how difficult it can be to stick to those resolutions all year long. We quickly get caught up in the hustle and bustle of a new year, and those good intentions slip down our priority list. Mindfulness is about purposefully focusing on the here and now. It can be a beneficial tool for successfully establishing, reaching, and maintaining new goals this year.

  1. Set Your Intention and Attention

When setting your intentions for the new year, think about the purpose behind the goal. Why is it important to you? Why is it something you want to accomplish or improve now? What is your motivation? Thinking about your answers to these questions will help you keep your attention tuned into the motivation behind your goal. When you’re mindful to find purpose in your resolutions, you find that your attention is drawn to them more often.

  1. Focus on the Process

Habits are formed one small step at a time. It’s natural to focus on the end goal, but mindfulness turns our attention to the daily steps to get there. When choosing your new year’s resolution, take time to plan out the process of your habit-forming.  Instead of “I want to lose weight,” ask yourself what you will implement to form healthier habits each day towards weight loss. Be specific. For example, “I will walk for 20 minutes after dinner five days a week”. This turns your attention to the daily habits you want to form to lose weight. This will help keep your resolution at the forefront of your schedule. Solely focusing on the end goal can feel daunting and less achievable.

  1. Acknowledge Stress and Embrace the Unknown

Life happens. Resolutions get so hard to keep up with because of our constantly changing schedules and environments. Mindfulness encourages us to acknowledge stressful moments, embrace the fact that our day doesn’t always go according to plan, and choose to adjust along the way. Instead of allowing our attention to dwell on the past or worry about the future, focus on how we can manage today. We can’t always control our stressors, but we can control how we respond to and manage them. Accepting the fact that resolutions can look different in each season of our life can help us stay on track.

  1. Consistency Over Perfection

Maybe we stuck to our resolution for three weeks straight and then suddenly missed a day. Feel like you fell off the wagon? How do you get back on course? Achieving new year’s resolutions often comes with the misconception that we must be perfect 100% of the time. As we all know, this isn’t realistic. And we start to think that achieving our goals isn’t realistic either. When establishing resolutions, be mindful of the fact that you are human and not perfect. If a day doesn’t go according to plan, pick back up tomorrow. You’ll have more success when you strive for consistency instead of perfection.

  1. Check-In and Allow Space to Refocus and Adapt

Long-lasting habits require frequent self-check-ins. Reflect on how you are doing and what you need to change. Give yourself a mindful moment to evaluate your progress. Has your schedule changed? Have your priorities changed? Does your overall goal need tweaking? Maybe the process in which you reach that goal needs to be altered? As you work towards lasting healthier habits, it is necessary to allow yourself the space to refocus and adapt. Mindfully evaluate how things have been going, how they could go better, and what you can do to get there.

New year’s resolutions can be tough, but mindfulness helps you focus on a healthier year by choosing a healthier moment each day.

Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP