Live Mindfully in 2023
Soulful Sunday #1
I started The Power of Change to help others live a mindful life. I spent years learning to embrace mindfulness and studied with many coaches and mentors. It was a time in my life when it wasn’t an option. I needed to change the way I thought about life to survive. But learning to live mindfully can benefit anyone, even if you’re cruising through life and don’t have many challenges.
Changing The Way You Think
Last week I talked about setting mindful intentions for the new year. I’ve made a few, in addition to getting regular sleep! As we head into the third week of 2023, have you considered your intentions?
One of my intentions is to publish The Power of Change regularly. Because my time is spread across many responsibilities each day, I need to be mindful of how I’ll accomplish what I need to do.
I also appreciate that you joined The Power to Change to spend a few minutes with me each week, learning to change your life in a meaningful way.
To that end, Welcome to the first edition of Soulful Sunday.
Why Soulful Sunday
What better way to start the week than a quick mindfulness check-in? By giving attention to the present moment and observing your thoughts and feelings without judgment, you’re more likely to stay on track and focus on what’s important during the upcoming week.
This is even more critical if you’ve set intentions to change something in your life this year. Just 10 minutes a day can be enough to start the process.
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Where To Start
For most of my life, despite efforts to change my internal clock, I've been a night owl. Although I love to watch the sunrise, the brain fog that still plagues me some days makes early mornings challenging, but I know that starting each day in the right mindset is essential.
How could I make it easy and ensure I’d stick to it? Simple.
I committed to mindfulness as soon as I woke up every day.
You can do the same - while you’re in bed or the shower getting ready for your day. If you exercise in the morning, check in with how you feel as you stretch.
Notice what you’re thinking.
If being mindful is a new concept, you don’t have to do anything else.
You’re on your way!
For those of you who are looking to expand a mindfulness practice or get back on track, here are a few ways to support your practice.
1. Write it down.
Whatever you hope to change in your life, write it down. In a journal, on your computer, or in a note on your phone.
Find what works for you.
By writing your mindful intention, you actively participate in the change. As much as I love the notes app on my phone, I’m still a pen and journal girl. I even use different color journals for different themes. Crazy, I know, but it works for me.
2. Set a realistic target
Think about how much time you’ll dedicate to your desired change. Life is busy and can easily get in the way of your intentions. Once you set a target, monitor your progress every day. Did you have a particular observation or feeling? Write it down! This also helps you celebrate your success.
3. Phone a friend
If you’re comfortable sharing what you’re working on, tell a friend or family member, or post it on social media if you’re so inclined. If you’re like me and want to keep your intentions to yourself, use your journal or notes to help you stay focused.
4. Review your intentions regularly.
If you wrote your intentions down, read them out loud twice a day - when you first wake up and before you go to sleep. By reading them out loud, you’re making a habit of being mindful. Don’t just set it and forget it.
5. Celebrate the change you’ve made.
If you intend to walk 3x a week for 30 minutes, celebrate when you’ve achieved this intention. Give yourself credit for the time you invested, and note how it made you feel. I’m pretty sure it feels great.
A Note About Change
Many times, when we try to change something in our lives, we realize that we’re uncomfortable in the new space. I remember the first time I walked into a Yoga studio. Talk about uncomfortable. I was a runner. I liked solo, aerobic workouts. I needed a pair of sneakers and music, and I was good to go.
Yoga was a whole new world. Mats, bolster pillows, poses, people! To say I was uncomfortable was an understatement. I still prefer to exercise alone, whether walking or doing Pilates or yoga, but I came to this realization after trying many classes and many instructors.
I let myself feel uncomfortable because what I was doing was new, and it was a challenge.
It’s natural to feel uneasy.
Each time I went back to the studio, I felt less uncomfortable.
I gave myself the time and space to grow.
I also paid attention to how I felt. Was it the right class wrong instructor? I was mindful of my feelings before, during, and after each class.
I stopped feeling uncomfortable after the newness wore off. I had met the challenge, and I learned what worked for me.
I was proud of myself for moving past the fear of the unknown and allowing myself the time to grow. If learning to become mindful feels uncomfortable or uneasy, it’s natural. It’s new. It’s okay.
Mindfulness Not Change
If you’re less concerned with making changes in your life and more interested in becoming mindful about your life, the process is a bit different.
When I first began to practice mindfulness, I did so not to help make changes but to help me survive the many changes that were happening in my life, changes I never expected or intended.
Learning mindfulness was a survival tool.
I needed to find inner peace and shut out the noise surrounding me.
I needed to cultivate calm in the midst of life’s storm.
Bringing my attention to what I was thinking or feeling at various times of my day enabled me to take a break from the craziness around me.
I took time to breathe.
Wherever you are in the process of living mindfully, during the coming week, think about the following:
Commit to being mindful as soon as you wake up and before you go to sleep
Consider writing your intentions down
Set realistic targets if you’re working to change something
If you’re comfortable sharing your desire to build a mindfulness practice, ask a trusted friend or family member to help support your journey
Review your intentions regularly by reading them out loud
Celebrate your ability to be mindful.
To show my appreciation for your support of The Power of Change, I’ve included a few pages of a Mindfulness Journal below that you can download and use if you find it helpful.
Until next week, I wish you the time and the space to breathe.