5 Tips for a Mindful Start to 2018

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Happy 2018! As we ring in the new year, we wanted to share with you our five favorite ways to infuse your new beginnings  with mindfulness. And yes, we said mindfulness: taking the time to meditate is a great way to build your mindfulness muscle, but you can also make any moment a mindful moment, on or off the cushion.  Here’s how!

Tip #1: Start Small

Rather than saying to yourself, “Meditating first thing in the morning is a good idea. I’ll set my alarm to get up 20 minutes earlier and that will make sure I do it every day” - and then sleeping late after day 3 - instead you say to yourself, “What do I already do every day, that I can do mindfully?” For example, you could focus on your breath while you’re on your way to work, or brush your teeth mindfully, paying attention to all the little details (the feeling of the toothbrush on your teeth and your gums, the taste of the toothpaste in your mouth…). It’s much easier to sustain a small change, tied to your existing routine, than it is to keep up a revolutionary change.

Tip #2: Change One Thing At A Time

In the euphoria of the new year, it’s easy to promise yourself you’ll change a whole bunch of habits at once. Rather than holding yourself to an unrealistic standard of the perfect person you ought to be, embrace the amazing person you already are and choose just one aspect of your life to shift. Challenge yourself to do that one thing all-out, rather than spreading yourself thin.

Tip #3: Be Kind to Yourself

Inevitably, you’re going to forget your new mindfulness habit, or slip out of the curious mindset you’re striving to maintain. When that happens, the best thing you can do is practice self-compassion: give yourself the love and forgiveness that you would give to a dear friend. Admit that you fell off the wagon, give yourself a hug, and get right back on.

Tip #4: Get Curious

Have a  mindset of curiosity and you’ll automatically become much more mindful of what’s going on around you and inside you. Our minds are amazing filters: they take in all the information around us and only consciously process a small fraction, like a horse with blinders on. When you get curious about all that information, you take those blinders off, and you suddenly have new thoughts and ideas about your work and life situations, opening up a whole new world of possibility for your new year.

Tip #5: Find Your Tribe

It’s a lot easier to sustain new habits if you’re surrounded by people who know what you’re up to and support you - or better yet, are doing something similar themselves. Share your goals with friends who you know will keep you honest about whether or not you’re sticking with it, and will celebrate with you when you do. You may find you need to look outside your usual crew to find people who fit the bill, but don’t let that stop you! This is a great opportunity to forge new relationships based on meaningful connection.

At WITHIN, we love helping people start and develop their mindfulness practices. Having a meditation class that you commit to going to in advance, as part of your workday, is a great way to help yourself remember to take a mindful perspective. This January, we’re offering you an even easier way to start and sustain your mindfulness habit: the #MindfulStart meditation challenge. Join us!

Hannah Knapp