Mindful strategies for a successful 2021
Here it comes: 2021!
The beginning of a new year is when resolutions kick in. Already, folks are talking about the new diets they're starting, the improved sleep habits they're adopting, and the fitness goals they've set for the year.
Those aren't bad goals. We should strive to live a more healthy lifestyle—eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep. But, to be successful, you need to have a strategy to tackle the coming year.
The year 2020 was a challenge in many ways. Especially this year, be intentional about enjoying a new beginning. Look for the good and grab hold.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18–19
One of the best strategies for a successful year is to start your day with gratitude. I do this. My first thought each morning is to greet God and thank Him for another day. Once I'm downstairs, I read my Bible. I pray. It sets my perspective for the day. Try it! There are a lot of different Bible reading plans. YouVersion is a Bible app that has plenty of different kinds of encouraging and enlightening studies.
Reach out. This year, take the initiative to cultivate some new friendships. There's almost always someone who seems nice, but you're both so busy. Step out and commit to a coffee date. Get to know a casual friend. Just do it! In this time of Covid, I've met friends at parks and also with video conferencing.
Join a book club, it will force you to do a bit more reading and might just introduce you to some topics you'd never considered.
Be mindful of the shows and movies you watch. I am one to enter the fictional dream, and I can't consume a video diet of only very serious or tragic shows. I need something a show that makes me laugh, something that makes me want to step into that world. There's a popular show that streams on TV now. Several of my friends watch it. It's funny. I watched a few episodes, but the main character can't seem to complete a thought without tossing out an F-bomb. I just can't take that. I choose to avoid vulgar language. I know that it will bother me. So, I took that off my watch list.
Listen to music that will thrill your soul. It's fun to listen to the music of your youth, but consider listening to some praise music. My church puts the music from the week's service on one of the music streaming sites. I listen while I work and while I'm cleaning my house. After a few minutes, I feel like I'm glowing from the inside out.
Be careful of spending too much time on social media. I'm sure I don't have to trot out the reasons. The past year has been particularly trying for sensitive folks. People are allowed their own opinions, but if they express them without respect for others, you can mute, hide, or block them. Also, know that what you see on social media isn't necessarily reality. It's the highlight reel from people's reality. Here's a tip for you: If you go on Twitter (and I do for my day job), move your browser window to right. This keeps the trending topics hidden. That's where the controversy lives. Don't look. AVERT YOUR EYES. I had found that my anxiety level rose when I saw all the nasty banter that is often associated with trending topics.
Get moving, and don't stop. Find an exercise regimen and keep to it. I've started walking on my treadmill for an hour a day. The time flies when I stream shows. (Right now, I'm in season two of Downton Abbey. It's just as good the second time around.) I have a goal to also do some strength training. There are a lot of good programs online that will walk you through whatever type of exercise appeals to you.
Guard your mind and your heart in 2021. Remember that feelings can be unreliable. Avoid thinking in extremes, and ask Him for wisdom in emotional situations.
Here are some things to add to your day:
Show intentional kindnesses to those you come in contact with
Be grateful to those who are kind to you
Practice patience when life gets bumpy
Friends, take care of yourself, physically, spiritually, and emotionally, in 2021