I avoid making a New Year’s resolution because it feels like a commitment to be perfect—to suddenly change something on January 1 and maintain the change without failure. Instead, I find that year-end reflections help me identify ways to be better in the year ahead. While I appreciate quantifiable goals, especially in the work place, I think there is a place for pursuits less concrete, like “being better” through mindfulness. It is an ongoing practice. My favorite yoga instructor says, “Be interested in where your practice takes you today, not judging or comparing today to past days.” This philosophy has broad applicability beyond yoga.
The reason I consider mindfulness the best unquantifiable goal is due to its stress reduction benefits. It leads to a calmer mind, enabling more positive experiences. Following are two key activities that contribute to a mindful state.
Focusing on the Present
Thoughts of everything I need or want to do tend to surface at inopportune times, like right before going to bed. For me, doing a brain dump by creating a prioritized “to do” list is useful. However, we all know other things routinely prevent us from tackling our lists. These are the times when I have to remind myself that right now I am doing “X” and cannot worry about anything else.
When we are finally in a position to address our respective lists, the trick is consciously staying with one thing rather than trying to multitask. Refer to my blog post from a year ago that reveals what has worsened the multitasking epidemic and what we can do about it, based on insight from Daniel J. Levitin, author of the book The Organized Mind—Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.
Redirecting Negative Reactions
My alternative labels for this are “think differently” and “do not be mad in the moment.” I do not find any value in being irritated, so I have sought different outlets, although not always successfully. My strategies include trying to:
- Accept uncontrollable situations (e.g., long lines at retail stores, the post office, etc. and rush hour traffic). For instance, I try to view being stuck in traffic as the chance to enjoy a good radio station.
- Be grateful for wherever I am or whatever I have to do because there is always something worse. As an example, I may not like every work task that I have to do, but at least I am able to work. Not everyone has this luxury.
This week, I chose to write about mindfulness (versus commercial payments) because the holiday season can be such a hectic period. I believe in the power of pausing to rejuvenate the mind, including our attitude toward work. One of my ongoing sources of inspiration is the magazine Experience Life.
About the Author
Blog post author Lynn Larson, CPCP, is the founder of Recharged Education. With more than 15 years of Commercial Card experience, her mission is to make industry education readily accessible to all. Learn more…