Every New Year, if you’re like most everyone else, you make a list of resolutions, but they soon go by the wayside. What if you chose one goal for 2022? It sounds simple enough, but how do you pick just one? 

Most of us accept that the past is history and the future is a mystery. In other words, we can’t do anything about the past and we don’t know what the future holds. So where do you go from here? 

Living in the present is the perfect New Year’s resolution 

Living in the present means focusing on the here and now and experiencing each day without judgment. We often will find ourselves enjoying a wonderful meal with family and friends and yet our “monkey mind” is miles away, beating ourselves up over a problem at work or thinking about plans for next week. When this occurs, we miss the sweetness of the moment and the enjoyment of spending time with people we love. 

Bringing the mind and body together

You can accomplish the goal of being mindful by incorporating it into your daily life. Start by setting a time and place each day where you can quiet your mind. Finding a calm place with no distractions is key. One easy way to begin meditation/mindfulness is to focus on your breathing. Close your eyes and make a simple, intentional statement such as “I am choosing to be more peaceful” or “I am choosing to release my anger.” 

As you practice this approach, you may find that your mind wanders and this is to be expected. Whenever this occurs, draw your focus back to your breathing—try inhaling for a five-second count and exhaling for a ten-second count. Begin with a five-minute session every day and gradually extend the time. Soon, you’ll find enjoyment in how you’re starting your day with this practice and you may want to use mindfulness before you go to sleep or after work to settle your mind. 

The benefits of mindfulness are many. It’s free, there are no negative side effects, and it can improve sleep and cardiovascular health, to name a few. 

Now, there’s nothing holding you back from incorporating meditation into your day. Start today and get a head start on the New Year! 

Editorial by Pat Riley, MBA, board member and Pat Kaplan, founder and board member of Alzheimers Coachella Valley, a community resource for dementia support and education. For more information, call (760) 776.3100 or visit www.cvalzheimers.org.

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