New Year, New Brain
3 Steps to create a blueprint for your ideal life
The last day of the year happens to be my favorite day of the year. As our busy world slows down a bit to catch its’ breath, I become focused on ways to fully embrace the meaningful moments of the past and prepare for a more intentional future. These simple end-of-year rituals have become a blueprint of sorts to align what matters most to me with where I spend the most time. If we’re not careful, our energy and attention get hijacked by what the world wants us to spend our precious resources on, and the disconnect between what we want and where we’re actually going leaves us in a state of stress.
3 Steps to Blueprint Your Best Brain
- Mindfulness. Spend a few minutes connecting with your breath, and allow your body and mind to rest. By bringing your attention to the rise and fall of your inhales and exhales, you limit the distractions of your busy brain. When you do notice your mind wandering, just see it for what it is — a thought, and gently bring your focus back to your breath. You can use guided meditation, music, or a personal mantra to help you stay connected with the present moment. (Free 3-minute recharge audio)
- Mind wandering. Next, allow your mind to explore any avenue that feels enjoyable to you in the moment. Try not to force a particular outcome, but engage in a curious dance of thoughts determined by whatever comes to mind. It may be helpful to incorporate some simple physical activity such as walking, fidgeting, coloring, doodling, or gardening to create a greater sense of ease and play with your mind wandering experience. (Read about the thinking benefits of doodling)
- Visualization. Now it’s time to get specific. Bring your attention to this moment and ask yourself what you really want. Imagine you’re the producer and director of your life movie, and you have the ability to create the script, characters, environment, experiences and outcome to meet your deepest desires. How would it play out? Try to play the tape forward with as much detail as possible, noticing how it feels to be the leading role in your own story. (Learn more about the science of visualization)
As we get ready to begin a new year, set aside at least 15–20 minutes for this brain blueprint process, and then plan 5–10 minutes every morning to go through the steps of mindfulness, mind wandering, and visualization to begin each day. Over time, your brain will hardwire patterns of thought and behavior that will effortlessly move you in the direction of your goals, so that at this time next year you’ll have even more to celebrate.
For more information on the Brain Blueprint process, you can watch my interview with Dr. Srini Pillay on Stress Talk Live.