A holistic approach to health doesn’t just entail the body – it also needs to nourish the mind to ensure you reap the full range of benefits. However, many of us tend to forget this when we plan our New Year health overhauls.

This time of year, more than ever, when many people set New Years’ resolutions or goals to achieve throughout the next 12 months, we need a strong mental foundation to ensure we have the mindset to tackle all the projects and challenges coming our way.

American author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins notes that 80 per cent of New Years’ resolutions fail by the time February rolls around, because we either forget about our goals or give up on them entirely. While many of us lead into a fresh start with the best of intentions, we simply lose focus on them by the second month of the year.

Sticking to your goals requires focus and awareness, which are a by-product of a strong mental foundation. One way to enhance your focus and awareness is through mindfulness, which is why meditation is so vital to your 2021 fresh start. 

Meditating regularly is not only scientifically proven to reduce stress, it also quietens the mind so we can narrow our focus to singular, current moments rather than the flurry of thoughts that whirl through our brains.

If you want to incorporate the health of mind into your 2021 resolutions, here is a quick guide on how to start your meditation journey.

  1. Get comfortable – take a seat in a location that is calm and quiet, while also being comfortable enough for you to stay seated for a while without fidgeting.
  2. Set a time limit – to start off, try setting short time periods like five to 10 minutes before extending as you become more familiar with meditation.
  3. Focus and follow your breath – pay attention to where you feel your breath. Is it coming for your belly, or rather from your nose? Acknowledge this as you follow the sensation of inhaling and exhaling.
  4. Notice when your mind wanders – if you are new to meditation, there is a good chance you will find your focus wandering away from your breath and towards what you are having for dinner tonight. Acknowledge that your thoughts may be wandering, before pulling your attention back to your breath.

As meditation becomes more familiar, you will find it easier to notice when your focus wanders from your breath and to the everyday acrobatics that swamp our minds. By hitting pause on this mental rat race, you can brush aside the little narratives and reminders that pop into your mind to instead choose one thought you’d like to focus on.

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