Radical Mindfulness and the New Year

By Daniel Gutierrez

Every year, the list of New Year resolutions seems to be the same, with the top three on the list being health, wealth and relationships. This year, however, the list has changed.  

103.5 FM radio, a premier Los Angeles California radio station, announced that the number one resolution for 2018 is Mindfulness. People everywhere are resolving to bring more peace and tranquility into their daily lives, slow the fast pace, and stop and smell the roses.

Could this new nationwide trend mean that we are finally realizing that we are not machines and that, in order to thrive and realize our full potential, we might actually practice nurturing and caring for ourselves? Does slowing the fast pace mean that we may voluntarily start creating time for rest, quiet, and stillness?

In all aspects of today’s life, mindfulness has become the new buzzword. But when and why did taking care of ourselves become a buzzword? Regardless of the answer, how do we really apply these new resolves when we live in a culture that rewards overworking, productivity at all costs, and skipping vacations?

Under this current reality, the solution is not an easy one. Most people have an intellectual understanding of what they should be doing, but don’t actually put their understanding into effect. Studies show that 63% of people who set New Year resolutions give up in the first month of the New Year.

Despite people’s perceptions, experiencing Mindfulness is simple. It is merely the state of being aware, observant, and in the moment, with actions like mindful walking, mindful eating, or mindful phone communication. It requires that we stay present, without letting our thoughts or senses drift into the past or future.  

What about Radical Mindfulness? Radical Mindfulness requires a constant redirection of our thoughts and ideas, on a moment by moment basis, toward our current intention, and then following up with our intention through commitment and action. With this practice, mindfulness becomes a way of life, rather than a 1-hour yoga class and a 30-minute meditation a few days a week. With this practice, we take that wonderful yoga class and meditation and carry it throughout our day. It becomes a daily practice, rather than an event.

So, how can we be successful in being radically mindful in 2018?  Starting simple is the key to becoming habitually mindful and successful in the long term. Here are three practices you can implement today, right now:

  1. Before your day starts, when you feel stressed, or before making a big decision, give yourself 60 seconds to just stop; free yourself from whatever you’re doing or have to do. Stop and focus on your breath. Take a deep breath and clear your mind for 60 seconds. That’s it.  Simple.  If you’re successful at this, you might go to 120 seconds, then 180 seconds. Eventually, you’ll be staying radically, mindfully still for a longer length of time.
  2. During your break, take a walk in a local park. As you’re walking, rather than get caught up in your thoughts, notice the wind blowing through the limbs of the trees, notice the flowers, or the wildlife that might be scurrying around, and notice your breath.
  3. If you live in a big city, look for a water fountain. They’re everywhere, and these structures are actually built for the purpose of humans to use as a place to feel peace and tranquility. Take a break there or, better yet, have lunch there. Clear your mind of everything but what you see, smell, hear, feel, and taste, in the present moment.

These are just a few ways to learn to be more mindful in your daily life.  I encourage you to extend your New Year resolve to the practice of radical mindfulness, by choosing to be present and seek peace and tranquility as your way of life, rather than this year’s soon forgotten fad.

Daniel Gutierrez is a Mindful Leadership Expert, Business Consultant, and Best-selling Author of Building on Greatness: The Courage to Thrive

A beloved mentor and sought-after motivational speaker, Daniel was featured in the documentary Luminous World Views as one of eighteen world-renowned transformational thought-leaders. He is excited to release his fifth book, Radical Mindfulness