New year's resolutions are a wonderful practice in theory – but let’s face it, many times they’re set at the very end of December or the first week of January, and last for a handful of weeks before being forgotten altogether. Instead of coming up with a last-minute resolution, we caught up with a few life coaches and asked them how we can all start off 2020 with a positive mindset that really endures.
In order to start 2020 off on the right foot, our experts agree that it’s worth taking some time to gain clarity in terms of what you wish to accomplish over the next 12 months. “Write down and get crystal clear on the top 3 goals that you most want to achieve in 2020,” says life coach Kristen Werblow. To help kickstart your thought process, she elaborates that a few of these goals could be “to wake up in the morning and be completely present — not dwelling on the past or being anxious about the future; to find joy in the things you do and stay in those happy places without getting caught up in unproductive, negative and irrelevant thoughts; or perhaps to be comfortable in your own skin, have energy, be organized and happy.”
If you’re looking for even more guidance, Randy Spelling, founder of Randy Spelling Coaching, also suggests asking yourself the following questions to help determine your ambitions for the New Year: What do you want for yourself? How do you want to feel? What would you like to do more/less of? What is the one thing, above all else, that is most important for you to focus on this year? “Once you have the answers, you know what to imagine morning and night. Read your list out loud. Write it out. Keep it close so you can see it and it becomes a living, breathing entity,” he says.
Now that you’ve envisioned what your fabulous and productive year ahead looks like, consider also sharing these thoughts with others that you trust. "Create a support network to hold you accountable,” adds Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. “You are much more likely to achieve your goals with family and friends keeping you on track — you might want to consider also investing in a coach.”
Your routine in the morning has the power to set the tone for the rest of the day, so start making it as positive as possible. Instead of immediately scrolling through various apps on your phone or repeatedly hitting snooze, Spelling recommends snagging a few moments to reflect and do a bit of introspection. “Take 5-10 minutes and connect inward by meditating, breathing, praying, setting intention of what you want from your day (and from yourself), light exercise/stretching, or reading a passage from a book that puts you in the right head space,” he explains.
Building on the idea of waking up right, try regularly quieting your mind through the process of meditation if you don’t already. This practice has several known health and wellness benefits including stress reduction, improved outlook on life and lengthened attention span. Werblow notes that even setting aside 5-10 minutes to meditate is beneficial and could include taking 5-10 deep breaths or perhaps using a guided meditation. Another tip she has is to incorporate “belief-building affirmations” into your meditation sessions. A belief-building affirmation is essentially one of your goals written out into the present tense, such as, “I wake up in the morning and am completely present — not dwelling on the past or anxious about the future.” Speaking these affirmations aloud can help make them become more believable and achievable — something we’re definitely here for!
Studies have shown that taking the time to keep a gratitude journal can have many advantages from lowering stress levels to promoting self-awareness. While busy schedules can often make the practice of gratitude take a back seat, consider adding a journal to your routine where you regularly express the things for which you’re grateful. “Whether it's a word, a sentence, a paragraph or a novel, write down one thing you are thankful for or something you accomplished during the day that you are proud of,” says Elliott. Like any new habit, journaling might take a bit of time to really become enmeshed into your routine, but as 2019 comes to a close, sparking a new season of gratitude is a worthy practice.
Ever feel like you dwell or obsess about a problem and its outcome over and over? The fresh start of a New Year is the perfect time to shift your mental approach to issues. In order to do so, Spelling says to remain focused on what’s important and what you want to create vs. focusing only on the problem and what you don’t want to have happen. “We are funny in this way — we tend to focus on the problems that are stressing us out the most, thinking the more we focus on the problem, the better it will be which is actually misuse of the mind (and is very powerful!)” he explains. He suggests instead using your mind to stay in the frame of the reality you want to create instead of the reality you want to change.
We hope these tips will help you get into a positive mindset for the year ahead — think about all that you’ve already achieved and all the possibilities that lie ahead. Good luck!