Even though the time for resolutions is past us, we still venture to keep our minds open to healthy goals throughout the year.
We make sure to take the time to make sure our bodies are fit, and make that promise to ourselves every year that we’ll make a new start, and hold ourselves accountable.
There’s something missing, though. What about our mental fitness?
Half the battle of getting our bodies in shape is making sure that our minds are on the same page. Without the mental commitment, we’re not doing much good for our bodies.
So what exactly is being mentally fit? There’s more to it than just getting your head in the game for diet and exercise. Keeping your mind clear will allow the rest of your life to follow suit. Even if your goal is something as simple as sticking to a weekly routine, kicking an unhealthy habit, or starting that herb garden you’ve always wanted to grow, if your mind isn’t there, you’ll find you’ll quickly be lacking willpower.
Here are few key ingredients to giving your mind a good healthy cleansing before jumping into any big life changes.
How To Be Mentally Fit
If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out! Taking time out for you, just for a few minutes a day, will greatly affect your life, and the lives of those around you.
Related: Ommmm: How To Set Up A Meditation Group
Taking time out for you makes you happier, more in tune with the needs of others, and it forces you to focus on yourself. By focusing on yourself for a short period of time, every day, you’re slowly opening your mind to face whatever is coming at you.
If you meditate every day (every morning is great!), you will find that you’re in a better place to keep your mind clear.
2. Sharpen your listening skills.
If you find that you’re constantly waiting for your turn to talk, you may need to hone your listening skills a bit. By slowing it down, and really listening to what others have to say, you’ll find that your mind will slow down, and it will process things at a slower rate, allowing you to really engage deeply in a conversation and work on your mental fitness.
If you come home after a hard day at work, and your partner wants to talk to you about their day, slow it down and really listen. They may not be asking for answers; they may just want you to listen. By showing that you really care by taking the time to listen to them, you’ll strengthen your mind and your relationship.
Related: 5 Ways To Seem Like A Ridiculously Good Listener (Even If You’re Not)
3. Baby steps.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Focus on the small things, then you’ll find the bigger picture will develop on its own. If your goal for this year is to run a marathon, I’m guessing you’re not going to schedule it for the week after you make that commitment. It would be crazy to jump into such a huge activity without training first.
The same concept flows through the rest of your life. If your goal this year is to read more, don’t pick out 15 books to read by March. Take it one book at a time, and you won’t get overwhelmed, thus making goals much easier to accomplish. This goes for anything you’re tackling. You’re more likely to succeed by taking life one step at a time.
Related: 5 Ways To Stick To Your Goals
4. Take notes.
I’m a list girl. I always have been, and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon. My post-it notes around the house are known to have post-it babies. I have learned over time that I am most successful when I’m taking notes, and writing things down.
If you have a lot on your mind, write it out. Clear up the jumbled thoughts by thinking them out, and writing them down. The sigh of relief that you’ll breathe when it’s all down in front of you will have you wishing you had started taking notes sooner.
I know, I know—this is a bit redundant, especially if you’re trying to get your mind in the game to exercise, but it shouldn’t be overlooked as a great way to clear your mind! There are countless studies about how magical exercise is as a stress-reliever.
Related: 7 Ways To Get Motivated To Exercise
The sense of accomplishment after taking time for yourself in a good workout is also a great confidence booster. When you’re feeling good about yourself, you’re in a great mindset to think clearly and accomplish your goals.
Keep your mind sharp! What good is it if we don’t use it? I don’t care if you’re reading Nietzsche or a magazine off the impulse rack at the grocery store, you are at least giving your mind some great exercise.
If you’re like me, and you sit in front of a computer screen for eight hours a day, maybe the last thing you want to do is read when you get home. However, I encourage you to take at least a half hour every night before bed to quiet your mind with a good book.
There are conflicting reports about reading before bed, but if you make it a habit to have a cup of hot tea and a book in your recliner before bed, I’d have a hard time believing that you’re doing more harm than good!
Related: 4 Reasons You Should Read More Books
Your strongest organ, your brain, tells you how wonderful that lavender pillow spray smells before bed.
When you engage your nose and your brain together through the power of aromatherapy, you’re giving in to nature’s ability to calm your mind through your sense of smell.
Check out the blog at the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy for tons of ideas, from combating anxiety to warding off the common cold, all through the power of aromatherapy.
8. Get plenty of sleep.
I don’t think I need to go on forever about this one: sleep more, and your mind will be stronger. As a night owl, everyone in my life has always told me I need more sleep. They are right. I do!
Guess what my goal for this year is? To think clearer via the power of sleep. This is one objective I think I can handle.
Related: 8 Bedtime Hacks: A Cheat Sheet For Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
Before you take a running leap into changing your mental fitness agenda, start off with a list. Determine what your biggest priority is, then develop a plan of attack. If you don’t believe you can do it, who will?
Get your mind in a place that has clear boundaries, and write lists. If you feel like you’re already too far gone, and you’ve decided that it’s too late, it’s not! You know that little voice that tells you it’s too late? That’s the part of your mind that isn’t in it 100%. Decide when the time is right for you, get organized, have a plan, and kick ass.
Audra Dittlinger is a contributor for Inspiyr.com, as well as a full-time working mom living in rural Indiana. She is an insurance professional with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She writes to create, inspire, and empower.
Photo by Juan Pablo de Miguel