Every year is different. Every moment is fresh and full of exciting new possibilities.
It’s never been 2017 before - so let’s get excited about it and also try some new strategies.
Would you like to try a more focused approach to reading this blog too? If so, turn off all your notifications and phones and go grab yourself a nice warm beverage.
Then, take a few deep breaths, and read this article nice and slowly...let the words sink in and take time to reflect on each tip, before you move on.
1. You’re beautiful just the way you are
This is important, dear reader.
You not being fit enough, or not meditating enough, or not having a partner does NOT make you a bad person. Not even slightly bad.
I’m inviting you to think of yourself as absolutely beautiful and perfect in your imperfections just the way you are.
Look at this crooked tree…
So beautiful, right? Even though it’s not perfectly symmetrical and straight. There’s a beauty to it. Think of yourself in the same way.
Beauty lies in imperfection. And you were imperfect this year and will be next year, and that why we love you!
2. Make your new habit joyful!
I’m still in the process of reflecting on what my resolution is going to be. But whatever I choose, I’m going to make it fun!
If you can’t handle too much fun, at least make it a bit joyful...or something that’ll put a smile on your face. Otherwise, there really is no point!
When you feel joyful doing your mediation or singing classes or whatever you choose, your new habit will be like a magnet...you can’t help but keep doing it.
3. Don’t be a control freak
Don’t think you need to boss your body and mind around to form a new habit.
If on a given day, your mind really doesn’t want to go on a run, fine! It’s not the end of the world.
There’s always tomorrow...or later on today...or a walk instead of a run.
Being harsh and forcing your body and mind to create a new habit isn’t the way to go about it, contrary to normal beliefs.
Nice and easy does it.
You’ll feel like you’re ‘letting yourself off the hook’.
But haven’t you already tried this approach of excessive discipline on yourself, followed by so-called ‘failure’?
Try something much more radically friendly to yourself this year!
Treat yourself like you’d treat a small child trying to walk for the first time - with plenty of smiles and encouragement, without force.
4. Expect little failures and prepare your self-compassion
Expect failure doesn’t sound good, I know.
But if you just expect success with your new habit of, say, writing every morning, then you don’t manage it for a day or two, you can be prepared to re-start the habit.
But if you just expect 100% success and miss just one day, you’ll think you were a total failure and totally give up. Now maybe you can see the problem with excessively high expectations of yourself...
I remember reading research on people addicted to alcohol. If they had more self-compassion to themselves when they had the odd drink, they were less likely to feel bad and less likely to binge on the drink after one night slip.
However, if they really beat themselves up mentally and emotionally for breaking their habit once, they relapsed into lots of drink.
So being nice to yourself when you slip up doesn’t only feel good, it works!
5. Start so small, it feels silly
Whatever new habit you choose, make it so easy to start with, it’s really hard to fail.
So if meditation is a new habit you wish to start, begin with 1 minute every morning!
Or 5 minutes. Whatever feels really short to you.
It’s so short, it’s very easy to do and hard to feel like it’s too long. And then build up from there.
6. Bonus tip: Hook up
Research quoted by Richie Davidson shows that if you want to develop a new habit, piggyback on an existing habit.
For example, you may have a shower every morning. Well, you can do your daily meditation practice immediately after your daily shower. Then you’re more likely to remember to do it.
Take a more friendly, gentle approach to cultivating your new year resolution, and you’re much more likely to make it a part of your new daily routine.
The key is to remember that you’re fine just the way you are and whatever new habit you create doesn’t make you a better person...you’re already good enough!
Thinking as small as possible, being kind to yourself when you don’t stick to your new habit, and enjoy the journey are my ‘kindful’ tips for a happier, healthier new year.
If you wish to make meditation a new habit, start your 7-days Free Kindfulness meditation.