Without fail, we use the dawn of a new year as an opportunity to assess our lives. To reflect on the prior year and plan for the one ahead.

A new year is the perfect time to reinvigorate our lives with meaning. To realign our actions with our values and to ensure we’re on the right path toward a better future.

During this process, it’s essential we look inward. Too many go through these motions to check a box or to feel temporarily organized. But those are the ones that seem to put the appeasement of others ahead of truly understanding one’s self.

If you spend enough time digging through the reflective materials inside you, you’ll inevitably uncover what matters most. But confronting these personal artifacts requires both strength and awareness. Strength to make room for vulnerabilities and awareness that the answers might not find you – and that staying open to self-discovery will yield truths over time.

Reflective materials most often come in the form of memories. And memories can be positive or negative (or both). Positive memories often resemble nostalgia and nourish the spirit with joy. Because of this, as we reflect on these memories, we are reminded of what makes us truly happy.

Those negative memories, on the other hand, can look a lot like trauma. These artifacts must be confronted, understood, and pushed away from one’s center to make room for more positive thoughts.

This is why, for me, reflection can never be time-based. These assessments can’t only be annual. They shouldn’t even be quarterly, monthly, or weekly. Instead, they should be constant and flow through our bodies at all times.

This is what mindfulness is.

To be mindful is simply to connect with the self at a deep and meaningful level.

So this year, add additional intention to your resolutions. Don’t just make a list that you’ll occasionally look at a few times in January.

Dig through your mind, excavate your body, and tidy up your thought space. It’s the only way to truly understand what you want from 2022.