Time management Monday: Sustaining mindful changes

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Even if you don’t make New Year’s Resolutions, now is a good time to think about how this year has been for you, and what changes you want to make in your life in the upcoming year. Think about every aspect of your life, and any changes you want to make.

Even if you don’t journal, check out the Daily Journaling Prompts for December because this month is all about reviewing the year and preparing you to start 2017 right with good intentions and a plan to implement them.

It’s well known that most New Year’s Resolutions fail. We all know why: they are unrealistic, not specific enough, and take more time and energy than we can spare for them. Radical life changes are hard to make all of a sudden. That’s not what I’m suggesting.

Mindful changes are subtle shifts in how you think, which then affect how you act. For example, if one of your goals is to build better relationships, think about how you communicate with people. These days it’s all too easy to communicate via text or brief emails. How could your relationships improve if you spent more time communicating face to face, or at the very least speaking over the phone instead of via text? Think of ways to make it a priority to communicate face to face. What behavior changes will you need to make? This might include scheduling time to meet people, and making more of an effort to see people in person.

The way to sustain these types of mindful changes is to remind yourself often of why they are important to you. It’s easy to fall back into old habits when our enthusiasm for something new wears off. But by being mindful of our choices and thinking about why certain things are important, we can reinforce positive changes.

A great way to remind yourself of what is important is to write your goals in your planner where you will see them and be able to incorporate them into your daily schedule. I showed how to do this in Part 3 of the Why Use A Paper Planner? series.

You can take this a step further by using your planner to remind you of your intentions throughout the year. This holds you accountable for the changes you want to make. Write a weekly or monthly check-in on your planner pages to keep those intentions from falling off the radar. Write these into your planner ahead of time, so you’ll be reminded throughout the year of what your intentions are. This will keep you mindful of your choices and your actions all year long.

shown: Plan & Note weekly planner

What could you do to improve your life in 2017? Have better relationships? Perform better at work/ school? Improve your health/ fitness? Write your intentions into your planner now, including performance benchmarks, so you can check in with yourself as the year goes on.

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