Start the new year off in a more mindful state with these meditation tips.
As we all know, a new year can bring with it a whole wave of emotions. Many people look ahead to the next 12 months and make resolutions, vowing to make positive changes in their lives that they did not quite manage the previous year. However, some also reflect on past guilt and regrets from time now passed, disappointed at some of the decisions they made or things they experienced. This mixture of emotions is completely normal! However, it is important that you take the time to learn from these feelings, preparing yourself for a new and more positive year.
In order to do this, you should set yourself a goal to create more excitement, joy and happiness in your life, not allowing sadness and regret to linger. If you grasp opportunities with both hands, you may find that you have less to be regretful for. To create this positivity, you must concentrate on the highs and lows of your life in order to direct your new year path, rather than allowing the world to direct you.
Your New Year Plan
Ask yourself this one important question: What do you have planned for yourself over the next year? The answer to this question can take many shapes. It could revolve around the intentions you have and the activities you want to plan. It could be around your general mindset, habits and ideas. It could refer to the pieces in your life that you need to let go of in order to grow. As much as you are looking to make positive changes in your life for the next year, you should also look to dispel the negative relationships, activities and patterns. Not only get rid of them, but replace them with something new, exciting and positive!
New Year Meditation
For this special new year meditation, we require you to find some paper and a pen as you sit down comfortably and await an incredible ride of self-discovery.
- Sit up straight.
- Close your eyes.
- Slow down your breathing — five slow breaths in and five slow breaths out your nose.
- Where are you? Scan your mind and your body. Take note of how you feel both physically and mentally while observing any thoughts in a non-biased way, as if they were the thoughts of someone else.
- Slowly replay your past year in your mind, as if you were watching it at the cinema. Think about all of your most important memories from the past 12 months, no matter how big or small, good or bad.
- If it helps, you can move through the year month by month. What happened in January? Who did you meet? What emotions did you feel? What mistakes did you make? What were the highlights? What were the worst moments? What about February, March, April, etc.? Recap everything that happened, living in the moments before moving on.
- Once you eventually reach December and finish the film of your year, take notice of how it makes you feel.
- Move on and think about the biggest challenge that you faced over the past 12 months. What was it? Who was involved? Did you overcome the challenge or not? Why? How did it change you? Given the opportunity, what would you do differently? What did you learn? How can you learn from it? What can you aim for next year thanks to this challenge?
- Now think of your favorite moment from the past year, holding it clearly in the center of your mind. Let it live through all of your senses before replaying the moment in your mind. Take that feeling, that emotion, and send it around your body, your mind, your heart. Feel the feeling that you felt that day. Let yourself enjoy it! What was your mind like? What was your energy like? Think about the images, sensations and colors.
- Now think about what feelings this favorite memory brought with it. Isolate the feelings and the reasons behind them. Now concentrate on how you can take that and implement it more into your life over the next year. How can you experience more of these favorite moments? How can you control this? Who can help?
- Hold these thoughts for one minute longer, then start to bring your mind back to the present, becoming aware of your breathing and your surroundings. Five slow breaths in and five slow breaths out your nose.
- Open your eyes.
Looking back on the highs and lows of your past year is a great way to identify what you want to feel more and what you want to feel less.
It is a well-known fact that writing things down helps you to reinforce and remember them, which is a great tool when it comes to reflection and planning. Take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to write down your thoughts and feelings. If it helps, follow our questions one by one during this time of reflection.
- What was most important to you over the past year?
- How can you focus on that more next year?
- What positive memories do you want to recreate?
- Which relationships, in particular, were meaningful to you?
- What were you most proud of last year?
- What made you smile and/or laugh?
- What do you regret?
- What made you lose track of time?
Look over what you have written and make a new list of all the things you want to feel, do and create over the next year. When looking back at the things that mattered last year, you give yourself an idea of what you want to happen in the future. Use the reflection on the past to implement positivity for the next 12 months, taking yourself to new and exciting levels!
Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years.
(Photo Courtesy of Alexandra Fuller/Unsplash)