This year marks the beginning of a new decade, making it the ideal time to start afresh and wipe our slates clean. As we begin to envision and manifest new goals, we direct our focus inward and consider what we'd like to accomplish not only for the next year but for the next ten! How can we start our newest chapter and set the best intentions for happiness and success? From slowing down and focusing on our mental health to holding ourselves accountable and practicing more gratitude, read on to discover five ways we're going to start our 2020 off right (we hope they inspire you too!).
Many of us are lucky to be able to take time off during the holidays or at least lessen our workload. And when we do, it’s common to notice how relaxing a slower pace can be. So why not try to sustain some of that ease during the rest of the year? Sure, we have to resume our regular schedules, but what about carving out time each day for relaxing activities or downtime? Making “breaks” a regular practice – both during the workweek and on weekends – helps keep the body calm and our minds more at peace. Even short breaks amidst a hectic day can do wonders for our physical and mental states -- helping to improve our productivity, efficiency, creativity, and enable us to make decisions faster. Consider going for a 10-minute walk outside, meditating or listening to music. Really, anything that brings us back to the core of who we are and eliminate anxiety will suffice! And by scheduling these slow-down sessions directly into our calendar, we’re guaranteed not to miss them.1
As we set goals for the new year, we often focus on things that improve our physical body like work, sleep, diet and exercise, but it’s also important to set mental health goals. Sometimes, these can involve seeking outside counsel or therapy to help with specific psychological or emotional struggles, but such efforts can also come from within. What are some habits we’d like to break, and how can we take steps to do so every day? We all get caught in negative cognition and behaviors, and these actions can not only build upon themselves but further contribute to our physical wellness in detrimental ways. Writing thoughts down and examining our mental patterns can be a powerful means of becoming more aware of areas needing growth. In addition, making a commitment to staying in the present moment, focusing on one thing at a time, can do wonders for controlling anxiety or worry. Mostly, mental wellness is about being open, honest and thoughtfully attending to what’s true in our hearts.2
When we want something, we have to plan for it, and this goes for all things from promotions and vacations to more abstract wishes like health and relationships. Taking time to not only envision our dreams but also outline ways of achieving them is key. It’s not enough to just say we want something to happen – we need to go the extra mile – make lists, set up appointments and outline strategies for accomplishing specific goals. Imagine each step of the process and see ourselves reaching them. Even if our paths shift mid-stream, the discipline of setting the stage for something to occur in detail will make it more likely to happen. Furthermore, by planning ahead and being accountable to ourselves and our needs, we can keep important goals front of mind and empower ourselves to succeed. Desktop sticky notes or ongoing lists are simple yet effective ways of staying true to our motivations, enabling us to check in with our goals throughout the year.3
We all know how important community is, but in the midst of busy times, it can be hard to connect with those outside of our immediate circles. Yet it’s also true that sharing ambitions with trusted friends or family members can help us achieve them better. Whether we seek out spiritual communities, professional networks or workout buddies, we have a greater chance of achieving our goals when accompanied by the support and camaraderie of others. No matter what we’re seeking, it’s often when we open up and vocalize our wants with others that we get the most perspective on how to find them. Not to mention, by candidly sharing our desires with others, we allow them to support us and keep us focused when distractions present themselves (which they inevitably will).
Developing resilience is one of the greatest strategies for navigating any life experience, and one of the most powerful means of developing this skill is with a gratitude practice – written, verbal or internal. Practicing gratitude translates into focusing on what’s good – not by denying what is bad, but by consciously allowing both perspectives to be present. Even amidst life’s most challenging moments, there are almost always glimmers of positivity to find. A gratitude practice simply involves carving out a few minutes each day and articulating 3-5 we are things grateful for. They can be anything from a good night’s sleep to a roof over our head to a loved one or a clean bill of health. By focusing on the positive aspects in our lives, we train our minds and bodies to be abundant and appreciate what we have.
Here’s to a bright and powerful 2020 and a new decade!
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt