A new year is a great moment for new beginnings. In this context, boosting your mindfulness and simplifying your life is one of the best ways to start the new year with poise and productivity. But how do we become more mindful in our everyday lives?
The answer is simple: adopt minimalist habits that assure a daily dose of mindfulness.
How to become more mindful
Together, these habits will simplify your life every day. The benefits are manifold.
You’ll stop running around like a headless chicken. You’ll stop performing your tasks on autopilot, raising your determination. And finally, you’ll be less inclined to fall into the traps of consumerism and social pressure.
Minimalism and mindfulness create space in your life. You can then use that space to grow as a person and work toward your goals.
On this basis, here are seven simple habits to become more mindful and minimalist in 2023.
Reject the idea of multitasking
One of the most overlooked habits when it comes to mindfulness is to stop multitasking.
We are so used to doing things simultaneously that we don’t even notice. At work, we complete tasks while checking emails, talking to coworkers, and listening to the radio. In that same vein, we perform business calls while making an omelet, and we always watch TV while eating.
All of that multitasking creates overstimulation that turns into a lack of productivity.
In this regard, Leo Babauta from Zen Habits writes the following:
“When you walk, just walk, and appreciate each step. When you do something online, do one thing at a time, as fully as you can. This is such a simple approach, but we forget it so often.”
Do one thing and do it well.
Say no more often
Another powerful habit to become more mindful and minimalist is the act of saying no.
FOMO is real, and we tend to say yes more often than not. Whether it’s a networking event, drinks with friends, or a date, we are always scared to miss out on something.
The problem with saying yes all the time is that our mind isn’t in it. We say yes to overcome our FOMO, to please other people, or because “there is nothing to lose.”
That mentality leads to one result: having too many irons in the fire.
By allowing too many commitments into our lives, we don’t have the chance to concentrate our efforts in the right areas.
As such, we are always half-chasing event X, person Y, or activity Z without having the mental resources to commit.
In the words of Greg McKeown,
“If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.”
Choose your commitments carefully. Don’t be afraid to say no because the more you say no, the better your performance will be when you say yes.
Don’t stand still for more than 30 minutes
Most of us sit behind a screen for the majority of our days. To counter the effects of sitting down all day, it’s crucial to add a little movement every 30-45 minutes.
I don’t mean running five miles after sitting down for 30 minutes. Just get up, stretch, and move your arms and legs. Walk around the house or office to avoid being stationary for extended periods.
Once a day, do more than that. We all have our preferences – mine is going to the gym, but be sure to have one daily activity that requires significant movement. Both your body and mind will thank you.
Limit your number of “essential habits”
One of the most critical aspects of daily mindfulness is to limit the number of “essential habits.”
These essential habits form the core of your daily routine. As such, they are the primary to-dos, self-care activities, and personal commitments you have to complete.
The main challenge resides in having just enough of those. Personally, I wouldn’t have more than three essential habits on any given day. They would look like this:
- Main work assignment;
- Gym session;
- Second work assignment.
Whether it’s three, four, or even six, these habits “complete” your day.
In the words of No Sidebar,
“I can’t stress enough how important it is to limit the number of habits that you consider essential. I start each day with six simple habits on my list, and I don’t consider my day complete until they are accomplished.”
Through experience, you’ll learn how many of those you can manage, and build your routine around them.
Create categories for the number of items that you own
One of the most potent minimalist habits is to categorize your possessions.
As an example, you can make lists of different types of clothing, electronics, and furniture. Each category has a fixed number of items – for instance, ten t-shirts.
Once you reach the limit in a given category, you adopt a “one-in-one-out” mentality.
That way, you’ll never own more than you deem necessary. You’ll also focus on buying durable, high-quality products instead of falling for trends and spontaneous consumer urges.
Travel with less cramped-up itineraries
Here’s how most people travel: after many weeks of work, they get that two-week vacation. They ponder where to go and end up planning Europe in ten days.
Holidays should help you slow down, not accelerate.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a full-time traveler, and exploring foreign places is my first passion.
I would never spend two weeks in an all-inclusive resort. In other words, I will always choose intriguing cultural experiences over lazy days at the pool.
Nevertheless, travel is about soaking in a novel atmosphere. You don’t have to cross off as many items as possible from a list.
Take your time and enjoy the places. Sit down at a café and do some people-watching. Spend hours looking at enticing art. And don’t try to visit every single sight in a day.
Experiencing a foreign ambiance slowly is one of the best ways to become more mindful in life.
Empty your mind before going to sleep
Finally, if you want to become more mindful this year, concentrate on going to bed with an empty mind.
Many of us take our worries and ideas to bed, preventing us from sleeping well.
As such, emptying your mind at night is one of the most paramount aspects of mindfulness and healthy sleep. In this context, reading fiction, going for a little walk, or journaling are all excellent habits to become more relaxed at night.
As we all know, a successful day starts the night before. Consequently, going to bed without an overstimulated mind is a vital part of any mindfulness routine.
This article was originally posted on Medium.