As we usher in a New Year, we look to new beginnings. By being present and mindful and by striving to be our best selves, my hope is that 2016 is a year when dreams are manifested. Much like my sweet baby James who is now a full 6 weeks old, let us start this year with a clean slate with no pre-conceived notions about anyone or anything, but rather a pure sense of wonder about the world.

In order to jumpstart this annual time of reflection, my husband and I have made it a tradition to write down our top ten New Year's resolutions and share them with each other. Something about putting pen to paper and then having to explain each resolution makes them more real in hopes that we will hold ourselves more accountable to living them out. Now whether the actions from our good intentions last longer than the month of the January, and bear the fruit of an improved life waits to be seen.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to embrace a more zen lifestyle and start to practice meditation. As a new mom, time for myself is a rare commodity, so I plan on easing into my meditation practice with an app called Headspace that leads you through meditations in an easy and accessible way. Another resolution of mine this year is to reclaim and refresh my body post-baby. I’m excited to jump start this resolution with by treating myself to a ClassPass membership so I can try a variety of workout classes around NYC.

While I set these goals, I know that, ultimately, real change begins within.  As the late MJ so wisely said (or sang really):

I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

The more we focus on improvements within our spheres of influence—namely ourselves—the world will become a better place. If not the world at large, then certainly those closest to us will appreciate the effort of self-improvement. One great way to kick-start a posture of mindfulness is by reading a good, wise book. There are many that I have found profound and enlightening throughout the years, but two that I always recommend are Eckhart Tolle’s Power of Now and Thich Nhat Hanh’s True Love: Practice for Awakening the Heart

I hope you all start this year off with a sense of optimism that the next 12 months will be the best yet full of love, light, and child-like wonder. To get us started, here are my picks for January.

Blessings, LBL

Photo credit: Mark Seliger