These 5 mindfulness tips will help you fulfil your New Year’s resolutions


IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR and if you are like most people, you’ve made a few new, shiny New Year’s resolutions. Maybe your main resolution is to be more present in your relationships, or to find a more fulfilling job, to improve your health by eating less and going to the gym, or to pay off that loan that weights you down.

But, we all know how hard it is to stick to your resolutions. You’ve probably done it many times before – starting out really motivated, only to find yourself falling back in your old habits before January draws to an end. No wonder you’ll feel disappointed and disillusioned while the new year has hardly begun.

How to easily stick to your resolutions with mindfulness

Mindfulness is a clinically proven method to control your thinking and not allow undermining thoughts to dominate you. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, mindfulness is by far the most effective way to ensure that your resolutions come to fruition and actually better your life. Here are 5 mindfulness tips to stick to your resolutions and design your life the way you like it.

1. One resolution per two months

At the end of the year you might be so fed up with your old self, that you plan to totally overhaul your life on the 1st of January and start all over again. And so you make a whole list of things to change: party less, sleep more, looking for a better job, finding the love of your life, working out and getting on top of your messy finances. This, however, will set you up for failure right from the start. We people have a limited amount of willpower that is used up during the day. This explains why going for a run is easier in the morning (starting with a fresh load of willpower) than at the end of the day, when your stock of willpower is almost zero. Imagine if you’d have to work on 5 or 7 new resolutions – you’ll never manage to stick to all of them, meaning that in the course of January you’ll need to give up on most of them… if not all of them.

How to make it work with mindfulness

With mindfulness you won’t believe your overly enthusiastic thought process, but you’ll remain cool and realistic. You’ll see that a pile of resolutions is not going to make life easier for you, and so you’ll prioritise your resolutions. Choose only one, essential change and calmly focus on incorporating this change into your everyday life. Turning resolutions into habits takes time, and with this schedule you know you’ll have plenty of time to create a new habit. Imagine if you could fulfil one resolution every two months: at the end of the year you’ll have improved 6 areas in your life. That’s a massive gain!

2. There is no rush

For some reason New Year’s resolutions must be taken on and fulfilled within the month of January. If not, all is lost. As that first month is so very important, you rush to the gym to get that new lean body, or join all the online dating websites for a new partner, or screen the newspapers for new career opportunities. And if you haven’t succeeded within this vital month, you’ll have failed miserably and you might as well give it all up for the rest of the year. Understand that pressuring yourself causes stress, and as soon as you feel stressed, it’s easy to walk away and give up. So refrain yourself from putting a suffocating deadline on the fulfilment of your resolutions.

How to make it work with mindfulness

With mindfulness you’ll learn to allow time since there is no rush. We are all pushed for time and we all pressure ourselves to get things done quickly. But why? When you think about it… what if turning a New Year’s resolution into a habit takes you a year, or maybe even two years? What’s a year in the broader perspective of your life, since you have a good chance to live 80 or even more years? Why not take the time and give yourself the chance to really make that change and profit from it for the rest of your life? 

3. How badly do you want to change?

How easy it is to make New Year’s resolutions and share them with your friends on an evening out! Making resolutions is a habit in itself, and is not often thought through. Of course you think you want to get super fit, or spend more time with your loved ones, and find your passion so you can quit that dreadful job. They are desires we all share, and we all seem willing to mindlessly repeat these worn mantras. But you are not everybody else. You are unique. And in order to really make necessary changes in your life, you should have a good hard look at your run-off-the-mill resolutions.

How to make it work with mindfulness

Forget the shallow habit of New Year’s resolutions, and instead take some time to really think about changes you’d like to see in your life. You might think you need more exotic vacations to live a happier life, but what you really crave is a partner to share your life with. You might think that you need a better paying job, but what you really want is to simplify your life and cut costs. Examine all your resolutions and understand how important they really are for you. Sometimes you can fulfil your dream in a more direct way, simply by understanding the desires behind your resolutions. If you know exactly what your heart needs to feel happy and content, then you’ll also find the courage to stick to your resolutions. They will not turn into tedious tasks, but will be life goals worth fighting for.

4. Every step counts

The common trait of New Year’s resolutions is that they are all long-term changes which we’d like to see completed within the shortest term possible. If this doesn’t happen – and it never does, now does it? – we think we have failed (just like last year) and we hate ourselves for the rest of the year for being weak and lazy. But long-term changes need time, planning and dedication. You would never expect a baby to be able to walk perfectly within a few days, right? It’s a process that needs time and perseverance, and that’s exactly what you need too.

How to make it work with mindfulness

Unlike our Western way of striving for the top, mindfulness is not about reaching the top but about understanding the importance of enjoying the journey. When you’d climb a mountain, it’s highly demotivating to only focus on reaching the top, thinking that there you’ll find perfect happiness and fulfilment. It’s wiser to realise that yes, you are aiming for the top, but meanwhile ensure that you have plenty of rest during the journey and look back regularly to see how far you’ve come. This will keep you on track and motivated, and you’ll learn that perseverance is the key to success.

5. Be kind to yourself

In your desire to get on top of those messy issues in your life for once and for all, it’s easy to become frantic and harsh. You might think that forcing yourself will get you the results you’re after, and so you’ll whip yourself into action. And this attitude will work… but only for a little while. On the long term it will undermine your resolutions because the fire of force will eventually burn out, leaving you exhausted and disillusioned.

How to make it work with mindfulness

One of the core principles of mindfulness is compassion. Not because it sounds so nobel, but because it’s simply more effective than anything else. When you work to make change happen, you don’t need deadlines and strictness, but encouragement and kindness. You need positive energy to keep going. So allow yourself to be human and accept that you’ll fall of the bandwagon now and then. Remember there’s always tomorrow. Tomorrow you can make a fresh start and continue your journey towards a more fulfilling, happy and prosperous life. Letting go of tensions (caused by an overly strict approach) will bring you far better results, because in a relaxed stet-of-mind you will overcome all setbacks and naturally achieve your goals.

I wish you a happy and fulfilling new year!
Marisa x

PS. Would you like to know how mindfulness can work for you? Then get my free e-book 'In The Flow Of Mindfulness – Without Time-consuming Meditations'.

With my approach you don't have to plan or schedule – you simply practise with your daily tasks. I tell you all about it in my free e-book.

Marisa Garau