2013 was an amazing year of change for my family and me. It was a whirlwind of activity from starting kindergarten to finishing my training to launching a new business and blog. It was wonderful, challenging, frenzied, and exciting.
In the final days of the year, as I was trying to think about my hopes and dreams for the coming year, one of the things that I kept coming back to was the question: as a health coach, where do you need to do more work? What will help you to more authentically walk the talk? And the answer that stuck was: Mindfulness.
To me, mindfulness is such a simple concept but requires a radical shift in our approach to the world. To be mindful is to be conscious and aware in the current moment. That is it. Sounds pretty simple, right? But for many of us, myself included, our lives are so busy and fast-paced, that we are often much more distracted than we are present. I am hoping that this coming year will be a year when I am able to integrate mindfulness more completely into my life and here are some ways I am planning on doing that.
- Being mindful about my food. For me, this means two things: 1) to be more thoughtful about the foods that I eat—choosing healthier options, acknowledging and trying to understand my cravings, planning out my meals more thoroughly, and 2) to be more present when I am eating. To take the time to enjoy the smells and the texture, as well as the tastes. To put my fork or spoon down between bites, so that I am not just shoveling the food in. To be grateful for each meal.
- Being present in my interactions with my kids. This is hard to admit, but a lot of the time that I spend with my kids, half of my mind (or more) is somewhere else—thinking about that email I need to write, thinking about the meals I need to prepare, thinking about the phone call to a friend that I need to make. While I don’t think I should hover over my kids and fixate on their every action, in fact I think it is essential to give kids plenty of space, I do think that giving my kids the quality time they need and deserve is important. So when I notice that I am not engaged when I should be, I plan to remind myself and refocus, letting go of the things that are pulling me away.
- Breathing. When I catch myself being distracted and not in the present moment, I plan to stop myself, take a breath (or a few breaths), and remind myself to recenter and refocus. I am hoping to do this without guilt or judgment, but rather gently and calmly.
I am excited about trying this approach to mindfulness out. I don’t see it as a resolution, per se, but instead as a shift that I hope to support myself in making over the coming months. I truly believe that as I get better at being more mindful, the benefits will be profound because I will be able to better enjoy the quiet moments, to engage in the social ones, to notice the world around me, and to acknowledge and respect what my body tells me.
What resolutions or changes in yourself are you hoping for this year?