5 Steps To A Mindfulness Practice For The Non-Woo

Literally ask yourself, “What do I want more of?” (image credit: Thinkstock)

Self-care has become a huge buzzword in the wellness industry.

Everywhere you turn, you hear about the importance of caring for yourself, taking time out of your day for self-care, and prioritizing self-care over others expectations of you (or your expectations of yourself).

With this, you may have heard whispers about the importance of developing a mindset practice, complete with  abundant confusion about how kale and affirmations will lead you to having a better outlook on life. 

Here’s the thing: self-care doesn’t have to be a huge endeavor. It doesn’t even have to be an endeavor, period.

The idea is that you need to put your own needs, emotionally, physically, and spirituality, above other BS in life. It’s really that simple.

See how painless and non-woo woo that was?

Well, a mindset practice can be explained in exactly the same way: it’s a frequently practiced routine that is centered around creating the frame of mind that you want to cultivate into your life. 

Mindset requires a little more explanation and fleshing out to fully comprehend, so let’s talk about how your mindset is formed and how you can create a mindset practice that reflects the kind of life you want to lead. 

Step 1: Mindset = Frame of Mind

A really simple way to think of mindset is as a frame of mind. 

Have you ever noticed that your frame of mind was off-balance, negative, or just not where you wanted it to be? A mindset practice can help you to change that. 

Although we often talk about a frame of mind as being something you can snap in or out of, it’s not that easy to do. If it was, everyone would be happy and positive, all of the time. “Choose to be happy!” is a phrase that is often touted by the mindset crowd, although their mistake is implying that as simple to change your mindset as it is to change your clothes.

To understand where your mindset is now, think about the frame of mind that you bring into most of your everyday life: are you constantly worried that things are going to go awry? Excited about what’s coming next? Anxious about confrontation? Hopeful about the future? 

You can use this understanding to then see where your mindset is typically and thus understand what needs to change.

Step 2: Ask Yourself “What do I want more of?”

After you understand where your mindset is currently, it’s time to see what kind of mindset you want to create, instead.

It’s important to always look at things from the perspective of abundance, since this in and of itself is a mindset. Thinking about what you want less of or the problems you want to go away is only going to create more worry and more anxiety about what does exist, rather than focusing on the possibilities that lay ahead.

Literally ask yourself, “What do I want more of?” Is it time with your family? Ability to take vacation? Money? Positive relationships? Adventure? Connection? What are you wanting more of in your life?

From here, it’s just a matter of understanding where you are now and where you’re going to go in the future. For example, my mindset is often one of anxiety, constantly worrying or thinking about what’s coming next for me or what I ‘have’ to do later. I want to create more money and travel in my life, so I’m focusing on cultivating a mindset that is based in curiosity, creativity, presentness, and intuition, so that I can maximize my time and dollars to help me to get ahead.

Think about what factors lie between your current mindset and what you want to create more of in your life. Identifying 3-5 words, as I did here, is a great way to approach this step.

Step 3: Use These In-Betweeners To Guide Your Vision

Now that you’ve identified the words that represent how you’ll get from your current mindset to your abundant desires, it’s time to put them into practice.

In thinking about your vision, it usually creates one of two reactions: complete awe, or utter overwhelm.

Our dreams can excite and motivate us, but they can also discourage us, when we realize how far away we are from our dream, and thus, how unattainable it seems. 

That’s why it’s important to create exact actions steps and plans to get there. 

Just having a goal is great, but it’s meaningless if you don’t break it down into smaller, more immediate goals. Otherwise, it’s likely you’ll get discouraged, off-track, and will eventually find failure. 

As far as the mindset piece of this goes, that’s exactly what we’re going to do, by developing a mindset practice for you.

Step 4: Break It Down

Take each of those 3-5 words that represent the adjectives that exist between your current mindset and your new one and brainstorm activities that embody their spirit. 

Using myself as an example again, my words were curiosity, creativity, intuition, and presentness. Activities that embody these essences for me are painting, cooking, journaling, meditating, exercising, and reading.

The activities you identify can be anything and can range from simple to complex. However, the more words one certain activity aligns with, the better, so it’s best to think about how you can marry all of your words together in a way that feels natural. The ones that create the most alignment for me are meditation, exercise, and cooking, so I make sure to always incorporate these into my mindset practice. 

See how this helps you to find ways to actually embody the mindset that you want to create?

Step 5: Put It All Together

Now that you’ve identified that activities that together embody the new mindset you want to create, it’s time to make it into a practice.

For this step, you need to create an actual daily schedule or intention for mindset work: a lot of people prefer to do their mindset practice in the morning, before they start their day. For others like me who aren’t naturally early risers, they may break the activities down one by one or save their mindset practice for the evening.

The point is, you need to create an exact practice for yourself. You need to put out an intention to do these things probably every day, so that you can hold yourself accountable. 

The hard part is holding yourself to this, because there are going to be days where you’re tired, frustrated, or stressed, and it’s going to seem like you should be focusing on other things, rather than your mindset. However, this is where a shift in focus is required: these are the days that you need your mindset practice more than ever, because you’re more vulnerable to slipping back into your old patterns.

Remember, a mindset practice isn’t about perfection and it’s totally okay and normal to have slip-ups or to make mistakes along the way. The point is, you’re putting forth an exact, daily practice that is helping you to reframe your mind into one that is able to create everything that you desire in life. There’s nothing more powerful than that. 

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