Although ringing in the new year can fuel a spark of change, it’s up to us to keep the spark burning even after the celebration wears off. Treating short-term resolutions as long-term goals instead can encourage us to create changes that we can continuously build on or work towards. By redirecting the lens to goal-setting and prioritizing what is important in our lives and why we want to achieve certain accomplishments, we can audit our time and effort on how we can implement these changes.
Here are 6 tips to Prioritize Your Focus for the New Year.
1. Practice mindfulness by paying attention to the ‘right here, right now’ in a non-judgmental way. This allows you to understand what you truly want and clarify why you want it. It also allows you to intentionally pay attention to your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, without getting caught up in any anxiety tied to the past or present.
2. Create a space that lets you stay present and be in the moment. Whether this is through meditation, active movement, active breathing, etc., this space allows you to slow down and build the capacity to weed through the day-to-day bustle and clutter of to-do lists to focus on your relaxation and positive energy.
3. Set specific and achievable goals for yourselves. For instance, instead of having a goal of being healthy, you can try to specify an actionable item that will help you meet the end-term goal. Personalize your plan with steps that work for you!
4. Be realistic with your expectations. You can write down your goals on a list, and can also include the hurdles you may face. This isn’t to discourage you from reaching that goal, but to highlight the baby steps you can take and celebrate the milestones as you meet them. This also can allow you to see possible excuses that might come up, and how you can get past them to step out of your comfort zone and make the changes you need.
5. Hold yourself accountable. You can share your goals with an accountability buddy—whether that be a friend or partner, an online community, etc. Any form of communication that can give you extra motivation when the going gets tough, or when you need that extra support system.
6. Maintain a balance that leaves room for flexibility for life’s changes, while also still being dedicated to the goal. It can feel easy to give up when plans go astray, but you can boost your positivity and remind yourself of accountability. One way to help with this balance is creating quarterly goals so that you can create breaks for yourself, and set realistic timeframes.
Although the new year is a trademark celebration that encourages goals, our goals start before that; they start with us! We have dreams and achievements to reach, and every step we take toward them is a big milestone in our personal journeys. I hope this year is a prosperous one for all, and remember, whatever goal you’re working toward—you can do it!
Vanessa De Jesus Guzman is an Educator and a Board Certified Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked with children and families for two decades. Vanessa is the owner and CEO of Free to Be Mindful - a private practice located in Ridgefield, New Jersey.
Vanessa is passionate about helping moms, kids and educators with mindful living, mental health and personal growth through efforts including:
Host of the Free to Be Mindful Podcast which provides bite-sized tips and guided meditations to anyone working with kids
Founder of Amiga Moms, a supportive network for 21st century moms offering educational events founded in mindfulness
Public Speaking and Professional Development for parents, educators and young adults on topics such as mindfulness, building healthy relationships with kids, self care, mental health and more.