A mindful 2019

As is tradition, a new year means a new resolution. Generally, my resolutions are set as a way to focus on self-improvement in realistic terms. Although they are also a bit vague and are rarely measurable (except for my running goals). And this year is no different!

My 2019 resolution is to be more mindful. Which is simple and complicated all at once!!

I am a bit hesitant to talk about “mindfulness” because I know that it can be a bit hard to define. And I am not following a guru’s plan for finding a spiritual awakening by practising mindfulness. No, that’s just a bit too prescriptive for what I am hoping to accomplish this year.

OK, then what do I mean when I say I want to be more mindful?

I mean that I want to be more aware of myself; of my surroundings; of my presence in the world. And I want to be more aware of the impact that I have on myself, my surroundings, and the world.

It is not my intent to change my behaviours as a primary activity, but I hope that by being more mindful, I will become more aware of my actions. And that awareness is likely to prompt me to change some of my behaviours and actions.

My reasoning for this resolution is that I am too quick to distract myself; I am unable to focus on something for more than a passing moment before my mind wanders. And I know exactly why I am like this: Widowhood did it to me!

OK, that’s a bit extreme: My inability to be aware of my world isn’t a direct result of widowhood. Instead, it is the side effect of my need to distract my thoughts from raw grief and agony in the early days, weeks, and months after my husband died. And that meant that I needed constant stimulation and noise so that I never had time to think or to “be alone with my thoughts”.

Soon, my brain became so accustomed to this distraction that I have found I struggle to just be in the moment. Although I have improved on my ability to single-task again. I can read without background music and I can run without music now, too (in fact, I prefer to run without it!). I can even watch an entire movie without multitasking (although, I need to do that more).

Over the past few years, I have worked to become more deliberate in my efforts to prioritise myself. And I have worked hard to force myself to enjoy adventures – even if I have to enjoy those adventures alone. But I have been doing those things on autopilot in a lot of ways. I have been doing those things without really being present in the moments I was creating.

And that is why I am resolving to be more mindful: I want to live in the moments I am experiencing; I want to be fully aware of my own being, my immediate surroundings, and the wider world around me.

Over the course of this year, and hopefully, for the rest of my life, I hope that I will learn to be more aware; more mindful. I know it will be a long process and that there will be plenty of ups and downs along the way, but I am committed to doing the best that I can. And, with a bit of hard work and motivation, I hope that this resolution helps me to become a better version of myself.

I have mindfully created a list of elements in my life to be more mindful of, and I look forward to sharing my progress here over the course of the year.

Happy 2019 to you and yours!

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