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3 Ways to Begin Living in the Present

lady looking off in distance

It seems as if we are always in a rush. We are in a rush to get out of the door in the mornings. We are in a rush to get our children to school and to their extra-curricular activities. We are in a rush to get to work and then we are in a rush to get back home. And when we are not rushing from here to there, we have our faces in our cell phones either on social media or texting away. I am guilty of this and many of you probably are also.

It has only been very recently that I have come to the realization that my thoughts are often on my past or future but not often on the present moment. There is a lot of joy to be had and lessons to be learned in the present moment. Here are a few ways to stay in the moment and enjoy the journey of life.

Making Peace With Your Past

It is hard to live in the present moment when you are constantly looking behind you.  Past hurts, regrets, what ifs, and bad choices can rob you of the joy of living in the moment. It is critical that you make peace with your past so that you can move forward. What does make peace with your past look like? It looks different for different people. Your past experiences, whether good or bad, helped shape you into the person you are today. You cannot always erase memories, but you can make the conscious decision to not allow past experiences to hold you hostage.  Some experiences or memories may be so painful that you may need the help of a therapist to assist you in moving past them. Do whatever needs to be done to move forward so that you can enjoy the journey of life.

Know Your Destination But Enjoy the Process

As my daughter is starting to research and narrow down her college choices, the goal is to choose the college that is the best fit for her.  I am having to constantly remind myself not to rush through the process. I want to enjoy every moment. If you have a goal set for yourself, try to remember to enjoy the process. We often go through the motions with are minds on the destination but there are memories to be made in the present moment when you are working towards the goal. Remember to slow down and enjoy the process as you work towards your goals.

Discover What You Can Offer Others

Everybody has a story to tell. Most people’s story can serve as a lesson to others. I have learned many lessons in my lifetime that can help people, but the lesson was always realized in hindsight. Taking your time through life will allow you to recognize the lessons, good or bad, in what you are going through. Life is a series of lessons for yourself as well as lessons that you can share with others. Sometimes the lesson is to take care of your health before you end up in the hospital. Other times, the lesson is not everyone or every issue is worthy of your time and energy.  Being able to get the lesson in real time can put you in a better position to cope in the present. This could help others benefit from the lesson and avoid unneccessary hardships.

In our fast-paced society, slowing down is a challenge. There will be times when you will have to consciously tell yourself to slow down. There are moments when I wish I had slowed down and really relished the moment. And then there are times when I wish I had slowed down long enough to get the lesson in the moment instead of realizing the lesson later.  I am getting better at this, but I am by no means there yet. It takes time and conscious effort but learning to enjoy the journey of life is a practice we should all strive for.

Do you feel like you are enjoying the journey of life? If so, comment below and share some things that you do to ensure that you are living in the moment.

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3 Ways to Sustain the Changes that You Have Made

So maybe you have overcome or are working on overcoming a flawed mindset and may have even overcome some barriers to change.  Now comes the hard part.  Maintaining the change that you have worked so hard to make.  This in of itself can be a monumental task.  Here are a few things that you can do to maintain your change.

  1. Reset if necessary.  It is almost inevitable that you will slip back into old habits.  Do not become discouraged.  You are more than capable of making whatever changes that you desire to make.  Remember this as you reset and continue those changed behaviors that you have already began to implement in order to reach your ultimate goal.  Try not to dwell on your setback.  Just move forward and try again.
  2. Anticipate challenging areas.  The best way to achieve success is to know where your challenges lie.  If you know that you always eat unhealthy foods for lunch when you are at work, pack you a healthier lunch so that you do not even have to be tempted to buy something unhealthy.  Or if your goal is to journal or meditate or anything else that requires time that you feel you currently don’t have, try to wake up earlier and do whatever your goal is before you begin your day.   The goal is to see what could possibly present a challenge and plan around it.
  3. Maintain positive attitude.  Let’s face it. Change is not easy – especially when whatever you are trying to change is something that has become a habit.  Stay positive.  Remember why you decided to make this change and keep that in mind as you maintain your changed behavior.  Try your best to be kind to yourself and be mindful of your self-talk.  You can make and maintain your desired change!

What would you add to this list? Comment below with what you has helped you sustain any changes you have made.

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Procrastination: What are You Waiting For? – Part 1: Mental Exhaustion

I am going to speak for myself today but I am almost certain that I am speaking for a couple of other people also.  Many of us have such full schedules that just the thought of adding another task is exhausting.  Exhausting to the point where I put it off again and again and again – you get the picture. 

I believe that we often make goals with great intentions but sometimes the idea can be great but the actual implementation of the idea is a different story.  The same can be said for the things we have to do like making an appointment and essential things that must be done in day to day life.  Just the thought of doing these things can be mentally exhausting.  Often, procrastination gets us to a place where we put these things off and then we end up feeling bad about putting them off.  This puts us in a bad place mentally.  This can lead to feelings of guilt and anxiety about not getting things done and the list continuing to pile up. 

So how can we combat this? The first step would be to not allow ourselves to get mentally exhausted and overwhelmed in the first place.  Taking mental breaks by stepping outside, stretching, or taking a nap goes a long way in helping our brain slow down from racing with the millions of things that we need to do.  To help with procrastination that is due to mental exhaustion, break down your tasks so that they are not overwhelming.  A good friend of mine suggested selecting one or two things on your to-do list daily and literally schedule them into your day.  This actually worked for me once I realized that I was so mentally exhausted that just the thought of adding something else to my list was too overwhelming.  And the thought of the energy that would be needed to actually complete the task was even more overwhelming.  For me, using the alarms on my phone helped me to get things done at different times of the day to avoid feeling overwhelmed – the times I actually could do it.  Remember the goal is to be productive so take your tasks in small chunks to avoid being overwhelmed.  Hopefully, you will not become mentally exhausted if you break things down in a manageable way. 

Coming Up Tomorrow: Fear of Failure

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Mid-Week Reflection: What Would You Do if You Were Not Afraid?

This is such a great, thought-provoking question.  The question makes you really think about two things: what you are afraid of and what your true desires are.  If I had not been afraid that people would not favorably receive what I had to offer, I probably would have already published several books by now.  Fear keeps us from stepping out and taking the steps to make our dreams a reality.  Fear tells you that chasing your dream will take you into the realm of the unknown and that you need to stay where things are predictable (your comfort zone). 

Think about your biggest dreams and goals, even the ones that you feel are far-fetched, and think about what is stopping you from taking the first step.  After you have thought about what is stopping you, take that first step.  It does not matter if it is just a tiny step –  the point is that you need to take one.  Face your fears head-on by taking one step at a time.  What will your first step be?

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