Currently, I am reading ‘Be Mindful & Simplify Your Life.’ The book was written by Kate James, a coach, meditation teacher, speaker and writer. The book is a collection of fifty tips about mindfulness and simplification of one’s life.
One of the tips really struck a chord with me; creating a visual reminder of mindful habits. Or, creating a ‘mindfulness map.’ The idea is that when you are trying to create new habits to create a more mindful life, you create a small ‘mind map’ of the habits you are trying to form. You then put the mindfulness map in a place that you will see it every day.
The concept of the ‘mindfulness map’ also allows you to start small, and add to it as new habits form and your life changes. Kate suggests to begin with just a ‘handful’ of changes, so that you do not become overwhelmed:
Work at creating new habits on a daily basis and resist the urge to overhaul all of your life in a single week. Take it slowly too give yourself time to integrate change. Once you’ve created a couple of new habits, update your visual reminder and continue to review it every few months.
Kate’s example mindfulness map has just five points, arranged as a mindmap:
- meditate for five minutes each day,
- drink water,
- stay calm,
- one thing at a time, and
- no gossip or complaining.
After reading this passage, I made my own mindfulness map and stuck it at eye-level on my fridge. Mine is a little more specific (I believe in SMART goals), but, like Kate, I kept the quantity of points to a minimum. The mindfulness goals on my map are:
- live within my means/stick to the budget,
- write something everyday,
- exercise most days of the week, and
- read each day.
I think the combination of SMART goals and a visual reminder to be mindful is a winning combination.
There are a few variations on what each of the letters stand for in the SMART acronym. To me, a ‘SMART’ goal is:
- Realistic, and
- Time-based or Trackable.
In Kate’s example mindmap, only a few of these goals are SMART goals: ‘meditate for five minutes each day’ and ‘no gossip or complaining’. Her reminders to ‘drink more water’, ‘stay calm’ and take things ‘one thing at a time’ are also important reminders, but they are not SMART goals. I think there is definitely room for non-SMART goal reminders on a mindfulness map. But, I also think that it is so much easier to motivate yourself and track your progress in forming new habits with SMART goals.
What do you think? Are SMART goals the way to go? What’s on your mindfulness mindmap? I would love to hear from you in the comments.
By Alaska Green