I saw an news story last week about a company posting a challenge, pick one word representing your life or the positive changes you want to happen over the next year. It can only be one word, and this word becomes your focus for the new year. Their website sells jewelry as a trendy reminder of your commitment and they offer other products for inspiration.
I like this idea, and it has roots in the older practice of Buddhism and different forms of yoga and meditation. For the past few years every morning before getting out of bed, I pick a mantra. A positive word or a phrase to think about daily. I write it on my apple-shaped chalkboard in the kitchen as a reminder. I find myself repeating some basic mantras.
During the holidays, grateful comes up often. I am grateful for…, I insert different things throughout the day. Thankful and blessed, also flood my mind this time of year.
Be mindful consistently comes up as one of my mantras throughout the year. What is mindfulness? It’s observing your own thoughts, feelings and actions. We often react without thinking or really knowing why. In our busy lives, many of us are on autopilot. Mindfulness is the state of being conscious and in the present moment. Without judgement you simply scan your internal monologue, associated feelings, and surrounding environment.
Other words I’ve used this year include: strength, compassion, love, kindness, success, health, peace and various phrases to enrich my life and those around me. If I had to chose just one word, it would be mindfulness, because it’s such a powerful word and practice. At times it seems almost impossible to achieve full awareness, but I’ve come a long way. I’ve also experienced the proven physical and mental benefits of positive thinking, and living in the present. That doesn’t mean don’t plan for the future or share memories of the past, just take time for the present moment.
So what’s your word or phrase for the new year? Use that word to guide you over the next year and it’s never too soon to begin.