2023 teaches us a deeper connection of trust and confidence. This year fear-based thoughts will no longer be an energetic barrier.

February is the second month of the year and derives name from februare which means “to purify”. February themes are loving yourself, soul calling, longing, sadness, listening to your own needs and remembering who you really are.

February’s keywords are community, unconditional love, competition, illusion, and hidden in plain sight. It is a month to complete projects or bring learning experiences full circle.

Collectively we will experience a longing for a better way of us all living together on this Earth and for solutions to our current global crisis. Sit with every aspect of your longing. Identify what it is that you long for. When it comes to the energy of longing, your heart directly affects your mind and your body, and this is because the heart is the meeting point through which so much of your energy system gets played out.  Your longing inspires you in your choices, decisions, and actions; identify your longing, feel into it, listen to it, think about it, talk to it, talk about it with friends and take time to understand it this month.  

Some guiding questions to explore this month are:

Are you looking with eyes to see true, or is the mind of wishful thinking blinding you from the truth?

How fully am I living my life?

If my heart could speak to me, what would it say?

How am I bringing my deep dreams into my daily life?

If there were no limitations in my life, what would I choose to do?

Humans are pack animals. Aside from being off the grid in the remote Arctic Outback, we are all in relationships. These relationships range from intimate to casual depending on the value we place on them. Being mindful can enhance all relationships and make them easier and more meaningful.

Relationships like:

  • Parent-Child
  • Husband-Wife
  • Siblings
  • Community

Your mindfulness can make each of these relationships better. By taking simple steps, you can maximize your relationships and make them healthier and easier to be in. Let’s take a look:

Parent-Child: The parent-child relationship morphs all the time. In infancy, the parent-child bond feels unbreakable. Over time as personalities emerge, it takes more effort to stay connected. Being mindful enhances the relationship by focusing intently on what matters most.

Pro tip: Realize your child is not an extension of you. As they grow, they develop a unique personality that may be similar to one of their parents or not. View your child through a crystal-clear filter that allows them to explore their own interests and develop their individual personality. Support them by showing interest in what matters to them.

Husband-Wife: The husband-wife relationship has every possibility in the world to be rock solid and tight or every chance to disintegrate and become underwhelming. Mindfulness guards against losing touch or growing apart. Being in tune to your spouse and cultivating your marriage is a high-form of mindfulness.

Pro tip: Learn your spouse’s love language. This is one of five distinct ways your spouse gives and receives love. Being able to pour into your spouse in a way that truly matters to them is an excellent form of mindfulness.

Siblings: Siblings are a unique relationship. There are many who are well-connected and remain close throughout life while others drift and become disconnected. Fragmented families are a North American tragedy that can be avoided by being mindful in maintaining your sibling relationships.

Pro tip: Make a sibling vacation an annual event. Do the things that are unique to your family and make space to keep the bond strong and alive. No spouses, no kids – just the siblings doing the things that remind them of where they come from and the importance of family bonds.

Community- We bounce against people all day long in our community. From the receptionist at the dentist’s office to the clerk at the grocery store, we are in community every time we make a transaction. Being mindful of each person you encounter can make an important impact in both of your lives.

Pro tip: Look people in the eye. As we move through the day, busy and overwhelmed, it is easy to make transactions quickly with little personal engagement. Make a point to look everyone you meet in the eye. This shows confidence and interest in others, which oftentimes wins friends and influences others.

Your mindfulness can make an impact everywhere. From inside your home to inside the doctor’s office and everywhere in between. Be mindful and aware and watch your happiness quotient rise as you gain favor with your intent.

Have you ever noticed after you bought a new car, that you saw that car on the street way more often? This is because your awareness was raised, and you had a certain radar for that car. Have you ever had a memory or thought triggered by the smell of someone’s perfume or the sound of a song? These are examples of mindfulness. You are hyper aware of these things because you formed a connection to them – you were paying attention through one of your senses at the moment and it made a lasting impression.

Being mindful is the transfer of your awareness from passive to active. Being on-purpose with your awareness opens the opportunity to be in the moment. In the moment there is virtually no anxiety because most things we fear are in the past or worries about a future that isn’t here yet. Being mindful is very simple once you get the hang of it. Here are some tips for simple ways to practice mindfulness:

Pay attention – Shifting your focus to what is right in front of you. What you see, feel, hear, taste, smell. This awareness makes the ‘now’ as real as it can be. Many things happen that we never notice because we are preoccupied with other thoughts or worries. Paying attention brings all the senses and happenings to the forefront.

Soak in the moment – Paying attention is one thing but appreciating and soaking in the moment is another. What do you see, hear, feel, taste, touch in your mindfulness? What do you think about that? Taking the time to experience what you are mindful of makes the experience all the better.

Listen – when is the last time you heard the birds outside, the whirr of the air conditioner, the soft sound of the dryer humming. Be mindful of what you hear and think about how it influences you. In the best of ways, mindfulness helps you enjoy the sounds of nature and life that you may have been drowning out with your thoughts. In the worst of ways, mindfulness can alert you to the ways your senses may be overloaded, and you can trim down some of the noise that is distracting you subconsciously.

Feel – Oftentimes we take the initiative to stop and become mindful in our environment – which is perfect. Paying attention to what we see, hear, and smell is a great thing. Don’t forget to feel, too. Touch the flowers. Walk barefoot on the ground. Feel the soft blankets. Professionals say that the human body needs a minimum of four hugs per day for survival. They say the preference is actually higher than that. Touching things in a mindful way – whether it be a pet, a soft sweater, a warm towel from the dryer – counts as meaningful and mindful touch.

Make an association – As you move through the day being mindful, consciously make associations. As I said above, we all make associations subconsciously that pop up when we are triggered. Memories flood us when we hear a song, go to a restaurant, or eat a certain food. You can purposefully create memories as you soak in what is amazing about each current moment.   

Being mindful creates an awareness that transforms you into a more focused person. Your ability to be in the now and focus on what is right in front of you can actually help you become better with details, better at managing stress, and more grateful. Practice these simple mindfulness techniques and enjoy!

Have you heard the term mindfulness? Mindfulness can be used as a therapeutic technique designed to teach you to be in the present moment, along with acknowledging your associated feelings, thoughts, and experiences. Mindfulness is designed to take your focus off yesterday and tomorrow and pay close attention to today.

The benefits of mindfulness are incredible because they truly teach you to “stop and smell the roses.” In the spirit of mindfulness, there is no better time than the moment you are in. Being able to surrender and surround yourself in what is at this very moment is the truest form of being present.

Practicing mindfulness will help you:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • See the beauty in front of you
  • Have more meaningful relationships
  • Stop living in the past

There are many ways to practice mindfulness, including getting help from a certified coach or therapist. Outside of their help, you can try these tips to be more mindful:

  • Start each day purposefully – Wake each day with an intention to be focused on what this day is bringing. Think about your plans and resolve to show up purposefully wherever you go and with whomever you meet.
  • Keep a body awareness journal – Journals are a very helpful way to cultivate mindfulness. Being aware of our bodies as they relate to our mood and our functionality is a key way to stay in the moment and know yourself well. People who keep a journal tracking their mood, body aches and pains, and any significant issues can see patterns that over time can help them manage their health better.
  • Keep your eyes open – Simply taking the step to actively pay attention wherever you go can increase your mindfulness. What do you see, hear, smell, or touch that you may not have previously noticed? The act of being aware instead of on autopilot will have you seeing, hearing, smelling, and feeling things you may have never noticed and can increase your happiness.

Mindfulness is a great practice because it reduces the longing for yesterday and the worry of tomorrow. Mindfulness opens minds and hearts by seeing what is right now and putting the focus and energy on managing the moment rather than managing the perceptions of yesterday and tomorrow.

Practice mindfulness for one week; notice the impact it makes on you and the impact you make on others with your focused attention on the present.

Studies show that putting your SMART goals into writing and reviewing them regularly will increase your chances of success. In fact, some studies show that you are as much as 42% more likely to follow through with your goals if you write them down. Writing your goals down will help you get a clear picture of your plan and what you want to accomplish. Logging your goals will also help motivate you to complete the tasks needed in order for success of your goal. Frequently reviewing what you’ve written will aid in reminding you of your plan, as well as remind you of your “why,” in turn, boosting your motivation to keep progressing toward your goal.

Writing your goals down as you set them; will help your brain encode the plan, further solidifying your goal. The mere act of writing an idea down makes it more likely you will remember it. This is the reason college students take notes in lectures, note taking provides a much higher probability of remembering the information. Similarly, when you draft your goal in writing, you have a better chance of success. After writing out your goal, be sure to place it somewhere that you can see it easily. Places like on the fridge, on your phone, on a mirror, at your desk are all excellent areas, where you can easily visually access your goal. Seeing the words you wrote out serves as a reminder and as motivation to continue with your efforts.

Not only will you be reminded of your goal by visually seeing the words written, you should also take the time for an active review of your goal. Regularly, actively reviewing your written goal will increase your chances of successfulness. An active review of your goal should include contemplating the reasons behind your motivation of the goal, your “why.” Thinking about the reasons you set the particular goal will boost your motivation by reminding you why the goal matters to you, why you set it and what you expect to gain from it. Reviewing your goal will aid in renewed purpose and incentive, ultimately bumping up your likelihood of success.

Countless studies that find that writing out your goals produces higher success rates. Placing the words you’ve written in an easily accessible spot and reviewing them often will also help ensure that you follow through with the SMART goals you set for yourself.

Deadlines are important motivators in goal setting, that’s why the T, in SMART Goals, refers to the term time bound. Time bound means the time you allocate for you to complete your goal. An obvious start and end date for your goals are a momentous piece of your goal-setting plan. When you set start and end times for yourself, you are better able to stay on track, give you the ability to focus on your goal and give you something to work toward. Mini-deadlines will help you keep up motivation because you will celebrate your smaller successes along the way. Deadlines will also help with time management, making your goal more easily accomplished. Managing your time well will help you allocate your time where needed, toward achieving your goal. Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time allotted. So, unless you must carefully distribute your time, your goals may fall to the wayside and become overtaken by everyday tasks.

Time-bound goals have start and end dates. Setting a time frame for yourself in whom you expect to complete your goal, will give you a sense of urgency. Time bound goals also keep you focused on the task you have laid out for yourself by helping prioritize your everyday tasks. It’s easy to get caught up in the things we have to get done in life, work and family obligations often take over. Parkinson’s Law states that work will expand to fill the time allotted; meaning that other tasks will take over, if you let them. But, when the goal is time bound, it helps keep the goal in the forefront, with a sense of necessity.

Mini-deadlines are another way that time-bound goals help ensure success. You can set yourself some smaller deadlines within your primary goal and reward yourself for those mini successes along the way. For example, let’s say your goal is to walk for 30 minutes, 5 times a week for 3 months, in the evening when you get home from work, to get healthier. The deadline here is 3 months. An example of a useful mini goal could be at the 1 week mark. If you check in with yourself every Friday evening and you have followed through with walking for 30 minutes every evening after work for that week, you have successfully completed your mini goal. If you allow yourself a small reward for achieving the mini goal, you will further solidify success.

Time sensitive goals are an important part of the SMART Goals method. Setting deadlines will increase your productivity and help ensure your success.

In goal setting, “your why,” refers to the relevance that the particular goal has in your life. Relevance is the R, in the SMART Goals method of goal setting. This part of setting a goal for yourself is crucial because it’s about ensuring that the goal is important to you. There’s little point in putting time and effort into a goal that truly doesn’t matter to you. Goals should drive us forward towards something significant. Relevance of the goal you are setting should also align well with your other life plans. Decide the relevance of a goal by answering a few questions pertaining to the goal and your current life. Questions like:

Does this goal seem worthwhile? Is the tradeoff of time and effort worth the result?

Does it align well with my other efforts and goals? Are other aspects of your life driving forward in the same direction?

Is this the right time for this goal? Does this goal fit in with your personal goals? Does it make sense financially?

Am I the right person for this goal? Is this goal attainable? Do I have the skills and ability for success in the goal?

Coming up with answers to these questions will help you determine the goal’s relevance in your life. Some of these questions are not necessarily straightforward, black and white. You will need to dig deep to answer some of these questions to find the real “why” of your desired goal, to know if it’s relevant enough to move forward.

An example of a goal relevant to one’s life might be for someone whose goal is to be promoted in their field, to take available online courses, to gain knowledge and experience of their desired position. This plan is worthwhile because it provides professional experience. They offer the courses online, so you can take them at a time convenient for the subject. Online courses are affordable, so most likely they will make financial sense. The online courses will ultimately propel the subject forward, toward an even bigger goal, the eventual promotion.

Relevance of a goal is an important part of goal setting. Deciding if a goal is relevant helps you match your goals to the rest of your life, helps you know if the goal matters to you, and if the time is the right time to achieve the goal. Sometimes, one must truly examine themselves and their life to determine relevance of a desired goal.

The A, in SMART Goals, represents attainable. When setting goals, be sure to choose a goal that is attainable – your goals should be within reasonable reach for you. Although the goals you set should stretch you out of your comfort zone and excite you, your goals should remain within reach.  If a goal is impossible to achieve your efforts are futile. It becomes unproductive to put your time and energy toward a goal that will never come to fruition. You will end up losing motivation and feel like giving up if you aren’t able to succeed or celebrate your milestones along the way. Instead, be sure to set a goal that you can accomplish, this way you will keep focus and motivation, and have a chance of greater success. Along with your goal being unattainable, be sure that when you draft your goal, it’s written in a way that allows you responsibility for your goal. You should state your goals in a way that gives you control over the outcome. No one other than you should be the subject of your goal.

You should state attainable goals with success in mind. For example, let’s say you feel that you would benefit professionally from reading more books that pertain to your business. So, your goal might be, “I will read a business related book every night before bed for 20 minutes, with my goal to be to read one business book per month, for 6 months.” This goal is attainable because what you’re asking of yourself is reasonable and achievable. The goal also only involves one person, you, who follows through to ensure success.

Another way to assist attainable goals in being successful is through setting milestone goals. Milestone goals are small goals that you can set along the pathway to your goal. For example, in the instance above, a milestone goal could be to check in with yourself once a week. Checking in on your own accountability is a great way to stay on track. If you have followed through with your goal for the week, in this case, read your business book for 20 minutes every evening, you will know you are making progress toward your goal. As we already know, tracking or measuring your progress helps secure a greater success rate for your goal. Keep your goals challenging yet attainable and you will be on your way to being successful with your goals.

Measuring your progress for the goals you’ve set is the second part of the SMART Goals method. After all, you won’t know if you’re making progress or gaining on your goal without a way to measure it. When progress is measurable, you can track how far you’ve come, keep focused and stay motivated by celebrating the small milestones you complete along the way. In order to facilitate assessing your progress, you’ll need a set of criteria for measurement of progress.

Similar to the Specific step used in SMART Goals, you will need to answer a few questions regarding your goal as a criterion for measuring progress data:

How many?

How much?

What is the indicator of progress?

How many or how much refers to progress as an indicator of what success for your specific goal looks like. The indicator of progress signifies the way in which you decide to track the progress you have made. This varies significantly depending on the goal. If it’s a business goal, maybe the indicator of progress is gross sales. Or it might be the number of pounds lost per week, if your goal is to get to a healthier weight. Tracking how far you’ve come within the goal is important because it will keep you focused on your ultimate goal. Motivation will be gained by ability to celebrate the milestones of the progress you have along the way.

Using the same goal as above, to lose 10 pounds by exercising more. More specifically stated, “I will go to the gym to work out for 45 minutes every day weekday morning before work, in order to lose 2 pounds per week.” Now not only is the goal specific and clearly stated, we have added the quantity of measurement for the goal, 2 pounds per week. In this case the indicator of measurement would be the scale. In the arena of business, an example might be, if the goal is, “I will build brand awareness through social media, to increase gross profits by 20% per month.” The quantity of measurement and the indictor is the profit increase in comparison to previous months.

Putting the SMART Goals method to use has proven to produce a higher success rate for goal achievement. Measuring your goals is an important part of this process. When you track your progress, you will have the ability to stay more motivated towards your goal and keep a stronger focus.

Specificity is crucial as it relates to mapping out the goals you set for yourself. Overly generalized goals will produce a lack of direction and ability to focus on what’s important. Goals that are too vague will end up setting you up for failure. For example, let’s say you want to drink more water per day. “I will drink more water every day,” is far too general. Lack of specificity will enable you to make excuses. The wording doesn’t hold you accountable; it is not enough of a detailed plan to follow through with. Instead, clarify the specifics. Answering some questions about your goal will pinpoint your intention and narrow down the specifics. You must answer what’s known as the “5 W’s” of basic information gathering; Who? What? When? Where? Why? Answering these five questions will help you develop specific clarity and motivation towards your goal. Answer these five questions to draft your goal:

Who will this goal involve?

What exactly do I want to accomplish?

When do I want to accomplish this goal?

Where will you achieve this goal?

Why is this goal important to me?

After filling in the blanks to the five information gathering questions, your goal will  look something like this: “I will drink 8 glasses of water every day – 2 glasses of water in the morning before breakfast, two glasses with lunch, two glasses after the gym and two glasses before bed to become healthier. This goal is specific and direct. It explicitly states what your expectations are for yourself and enables accountability.

Another example of a goal without detail and focus is “I will exercise more.” This goal is positive and relevant, however, it lacks specificity, and therefore it becomes a setup for failure. Answering the 5 w’s will provide the specifics you need to set meaningful, constructive goals that will give a higher rate of success in achievement. After answering these questions, you will end up drafting a goal that sounds more like this, “I will exercise at the gym for 45 minutes, every weekday morning, before I go to work.” This statement is a detailed plan for what, where, how and when you intend to follow through with your plan. Its details will ensure a higher goal success rate than that of the first, vaguer statement.

S stands for specific, in the acronym, SMART goals. Drafting specific goals is the first step in coming up with goals that stick and are successful.