Achieving Mindfulness in 12 Actionable Steps

How to live in the present and
make each day a success

Written by Salvatore Marashi

Being mindful doesn’t sound
difficult, but it is. Life is stressful. Besides the flurry of tasks and
everyday life, there’s always those nagging thoughts of the past and future.
Sometimes it can seem like you are going through each day on autopilot. Don’t
fret too much, we have broken down mindfulness in 12 steps so that can firmly
plant your self in the present.
Express Gratitude

Express Gratitude
If you decide to only follow
one habit on this list, make it gratitude. Gratitude is easily one of the most
important habits to include into your everyday life. At times, you might feel
as though you don’t have that much to be grateful for. It’s okay, we’ve all
been there. This is however, not true. Do you have food, water, or a place to
sleep? Probably you do if you’re reading this right now. Well there you go,
that’s three things you can be grateful for right now.
Expressing gratitude can be
simple. It doesn’t have to be just for the big achievements in life. Rather you
should use it for even the smallest things, like finally cleaning out your
closet. Acknowledging your gratitude, grounds you. It brings your life into
perspective and you into the present. 
A way to express gratitude is
to carry a coin in your pocket. Whenever you reach into your pocket for whatever
reason and touch the coin, take a second to think of something you’re grateful
for. This keeps you in a state of appreciation. Try it out for yourself.
Eat Healthy

Step 2. Healthy Eating

This is an obvious one. What
you put into your body directly influences how you feel. Think about the last
time you pigged out on junk food. It probably tasted great at the moment
(hopefully) but most likely left you feeling sluggish and out of sorts.
Incorporating healthy foods like leafy greens and amino-rich fish are a great
way to clean your system and leave you feeling as good as you deserve to feel.
Experience Nature

Step 3. Nature
The outdoors hold a sense of
allure for a reason. Sometimes it’s just necessary to get away from the chaos
of the city or the humdrum of the suburbs. Nature is beautiful and at times,
awe-inspiring. Taking time to be a part of nature not only has the ability to
relax you but also puts things in perspective. We are just one small part of
this world and sometimes that thought is freeing.

Live in the Present

Step 4: Being Present

In truth, being present
encapsulates everything that mindfulness is about. Life is lived in the
present. When we spend so much time focused on the past or the future, we miss
out on the little details in life. Our big events like graduation and getting
married can seem like the moments worth living for. However, living in the
present helps you realize that grabbing coffee with your co-workers or watching
t.v with loved ones after a long day may just be the moments you look back on
the fondest. It’s the collection of these big and small moments that make a
life complete.

Take Time for Meditation

Step 5. Meditation

Mindfulness takes practice.
The best way to practice it is through meditation. Meditation can seem to be
either too out there or too daunting. Give us a minute to change your mind.
Meditation works. Taking time to reflect and visualize is proven to reduce
stress, focus your mind and make your goals more likely to end in success.
There’s a reason why most of the world’s most successful people take time to
Now let’s get on to the second
obstacle. Meditation isn’t as daunting as it seems. You don’t have to reach the
enlightenment of a yogi or have the laser focus of a warrior monk. Taking as
little as twenty minutes out of your day to meditate is plenty to be successful
at this. Let your thoughts flow freely at first. Don’t dwell on these thoughts
but don’t obsess about silencing your mind either. Slowly, focus your thoughts
until what you want to visualize reaches the forefront. Don’t worry if you
don’t get it right away. Meditation is an exercise and it takes practice.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Step 6. Sleep
The average working person
doesn’t get nearly enough rest. That eight hours of sleep you keep missing is
the minimum amount of sleep you’re supposed to be getting. We realize that
getting all that sleep isn’t exactly easy. However, it’s important. How are you
supposed to excel at work or on a date when you’re fighting to keep your eyes
open. In short, you can’t.
Creating a sleep routine can
make getting your rest much more manageable. Set a bedtime and stick to it.
Avoid staring at your phone or squeezing in another episode of your favorite
show right before bed as the glare from your electronics, mimics sunlight.
Ultimately this makes it harder to fall asleep and keeps you out of the
all-important R.E.M cycle.

A Healthy Habit of Reading

Step 7: Reading

“A great book should leave you
with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end.  You live several lives while reading”
(William Styron).
Books are one of the most
effective tools for mindfulness. They bring about introspection and teach us
about the lives and thoughts of people unlike ourselves. Read at your own pace
and make it a habit. You’ll be surprised how much a good book expands your

Set Accomplishable Goals

Step 8: Setting Goals

The key to success is
preparation. Setting goals not only establishes and prepares for the long term
but also works to make every day a win. Simply start the day by writing three
goals you want to complete by day’s end. Make sure they’re accomplishable (so
keep making a million dollars in the long term column). Completing these goals
is not only productive but also fuels the fire of your continual success.

Learn about Yourself

Step 9: Learn about Yourself

Life is about the journey, not
the destination. Therefore, it makes more sense to focus on small everyday
changes to improve yourself rather than stressing about reaching some dream
version of who you want to be. Take time to understand what drives you.
Establish what you want and maybe more importantly, why you want it. Learning
about who you are, may seem obvious but most people never truly do. 

Take Things Slow

Step 10. Take Things Slow

Life moves fast and as you get
older, it only moves faster. Bills, your job, your family, these
responsibilities pile up. It’s easy to forget to appreciate things. Slow down!
Take the time to enjoy your lunch or find passion in the work that you’re
doing. Slowing down not only helps you with mindfulness and being the present
but also keeps you sharp and avoiding mistakes.

Celebrate your Wins

Step 11. Celebrate your Wins

How often do you congratulate
yourself. Honestly, not as much as you should. Recognizing your wins is
important for your overall well being and future success. We’re not saying to
turn into some monster egotist. Rather, allow for the recognition of your
achievements and how your hard work got you there. Doing so takes away the
feeling like you’re never where you want to be and shifts that to the mentality
that you’re living life with fulfillment.

Understanding Failure

Step 12: Understanding Failure

We left this one for last
because it can be the hardest. Failure sucks. I don’t need to explain this.
We’ve all screwed up at some point so we all know how it feels. There is,
however, a flip side. Failure teaches you better than anything else. While we
should always work our hardest to succeed, failure is just a part of life.
Therefore one of the most important ways to be mindful is to recognize this.
Come to terms with your shortcomings, work on them and improve. That’s what
life is about. In the words of one of my high school professors, “progress, never
Take a Breath

Being mindful is important for
getting the most out of life. These twelve steps make being mindful, an
everyday habit.
Let us know in the comments
what tips you have for mindfulness or let us know how ours are working for you!

Salvatore Marashi

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.