Time To Move On

I’m sure you are all familiar with the old saying: “When at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again”.  In my time as a teacher I must have said it a million times without realising that I was doing the person involved a huge disservice.

How many times have you “tried” to lose weight, give up smoking, get fit, be more positive or assertive? How often have you failed?

Of course the word in itself has no power to keep us stuck but the reality is that when we think about trying it creates a sense of momentum and effort but it has the capacity to leave us wafting  about and going nowhere.

Let me demonstrate. Choose an item , a pen, mug anything that you can move will do.

Try and move it. Really try!!

You will find that you haven’t tried to move it you have either left it exactly where it is or you have actually moved it.

I use this simple exercise with clients who wish to achieve something but have so far failed. They often say I’ve tried this and that, may say they have tried everything.  My observation is that by using the word “tried” they have allowed themselves to feel powerless, stuck in the No Mans Land between wanting and achieving. It gives us permission to fail.

That may sound really harsh but I’ve noticed a consistent pattern where people have found it difficult to change something they say they really want to do. I’m not talking about one or two instances but in many hundreds of people I’ve helped over the years.  The good news is that when people realise they are caught in the “trying” trap and choose to look at things differently they are able to achieve far greater levels of success and do it consistently.  In the first instance the simple act of shifting their language changes things energetically. Their mindset is very different and as a result so is the outcome.

“I’ll try to …….. ” Feels very different to “I will ……”

In the first instance you don’t actually need to know exactly how you are going to create the success. Having the clear intention that you will succeed and that you are prepared to do what it takes to create that success is a very powerful starting point.

Maintain the belief that you will succeed even if it takes several attempts and you are firing up your levels of motivation and commitment in a fundamentally different way to the far more flabby “I’ll try”

Time and time again my clients have proved to themselves that they can succeed once they escape the trying trap and so can you!

 

 

This article offers strategies to help those of you who put your focus too heavily in the past or in the future and in doing so neglect to maximise the wonder of the here and now.

 

The treasure of time

Time is a precious commodity, especially when you consider that a lifetime of 70 years only has around six and a quarter million hours. Not a lot when you take out the time necessary for sleeping, eating, washing, shopping and working.

Each moment is precious and whether it relates to the past, the here and now or the future it is important to live each moment to the full.

Living in the past

Too great a focus on the past means that the present and future are short changed. Too little and the lessons that experience and living can teach us are likely to be missed.

Living in the future

Too great an emphasis on the future and we waste the precious gift that each current moment offers. Too little thought about the future leaves us ill prepared to deal with life’s challenges, emotional, spiritual, intellectual and financial. To know the needs of the future and only to enjoy the moment is feckless in the extreme.

Time to strike a balance

There needs to be a balance. Use the past to teach us the lessons for the present and the future. Plan sensibly for the future but learn to enjoy the present and to make the most of every moment.

Here are 10 strategies which help you get the most out of each moment. They don’t expect you to find more time in your over stretched day but help you to make a conscious choice about how you use the moment and feel about it.

Step 1

Start your day by taking 10 deep breaths in to the count of 4, hold for 8 and out for 4. As you do so say to yourself, “It is a new day. I choose to be happy and look for the beauty and wonder within the day.

Step 2

Choose a different sense to focus on for the day and as you go through your normal day make a conscious decision to notice:

  1. What you see – look for colour, pattern, texture, form, contrast etc. in all that you see. E.g. As you notice the rain making a pattern on the windscreen of your car or the train window.
  2. What you hear – be conscious of the sounds around you, at home, travelling or at work. Notice the variety of sound, the volume, harmony or discord.
  3. What you feel – notice the texture underfoot, the feel of a soft jumper or shirt on your skin, the feel of the razor as you shave, or the moisturiser you put on your face, the silky skin when you give someone a kiss.
  4. What you smell – the coffee, or smell of bacon frying, aftershave or conditioner on clothes, the pungent smell of cleaning materials or the smell of someone hot with exercise.
  5. What you taste – bitter, sweet or sour.

Think of the language you would use to describe it.

Step 3

Make a conscious decision to smile at people. Notice their responses, expect none but enjoy it when people smile back.

Step 4

Take a short time out from your busy day – 10 minutes to simply be. Sit still and let your thoughts go where they will. Start with the intention of being curious about where your mind wants to take you.

Step 5

Be aware of the physical world around you. Look for the weed that has grown out of a crack in the wall, watch the clouds as they change shape. There is no need to make new time for this simply be conscious of things in your every day circumstances. Be open and curious.

Step 6

As you eat and drink anything be conscious of the aroma and taste, feel the texture in your mouth. Try to identify the different ingredients within a dish.

Step 7

Instead of watching TV, have a conversation about the day. What you have noticed or been curious about. Be equally curious about their day.

Step 8

Make a random act of kindness during the day to a complete stranger. It doesn’t have to be anything big but it needs to be unsolicited and with out expectation of any return. Let someone out into the stream of traffic, opening a door, helping someone carry a bag. No matter how small it will make a difference to the other person’s day, and to yours.

Step 9

Take the time and trouble to notice something someone has done for you and thank them. Even better if it is someone whose efforts usually go unnoticed!

Step 10

Collect gratitude’s. As you lie in bed just before you go to sleep think about at least 5 things you have been grateful for within the day. They can be as simple and small or as grandiose as you choose.

Make every day count for you and for others. Live this day as if it were going to be your last. Live the experiences of the day and be determined to enjoy it.

I’ll Start Living When….

I’ll Start Living When…. 10 Tips For Living In The Moment.

If you find yourself saying “I’ll do what I really want when… I’ve finished the project… when I’ve got that next promotion… When I make Director… When I have become a multi millionaire.”…

 If you miss a date with a loved one, or a important milestone in your child’s life, or you put off finding a soul mate until you are successful (on your terms)…

If you find personal goals getting in the way of living…

 

You need to understand time and how to live in the moment!

Whilst it does have a positive impact on achieving your professional goals, make no mistake such choices have a significant impact on your quality of life and your future emotional, spiritual and physical health over the long term.

There are three dimensions of time: the past, the present and the future. To live a healthy and productive life we need to balance living with all three.

Living In The Past

The past has much to teach us. Indeed life often throws us the same experience dressed up in a variety of guises until we learn the lessons. Let me give you an example. Why is it that so many people have one disastrous relationship after another? They choose the same type of people, behave in the same way and get the same results over and over again.

The goal is to learn the lessons the past offers us, and once we have, the ingrained beliefs can be transformed – as a result the choices we make and patterns of our behaviour change.

The past offers us all the opportunity to understand how what we believe drives how we behave. Learning how to behave differently is not as hard as you might think, being open to the possibility is often all it takes to start the process. Understanding that everything we do or fail to do is actually a matter of choice moves the process on enormously.

Lesson: If you stay stuck in the past, always looking back; either wishing that the present was as good as the past has been, or constantly regretting what has been, wishing things had been different – then the best that the present has to offer remains unnoticed.

 

Living In The Future

If your attention is always on the future, chasing the next goal, constantly striving for something just out of reach, you miss the precious gift of the here and now. The workaholic as an example: Workaholics often wake up to this realisation just as they retire from work. Living in the future runs the risk of waking up to find you have no personal interests, no one special to share your time with and no sense of who you are when you are not being the professional you.

Workaholics in my experience focus almost exclusively on the future and their goals both short and long term. They constantly defer living in the here and now as they are busy chasing the dream, which they believe will bring them happiness. Workaholics are convinced that they are working hard to provide a good future for themselves and their loved ones. They calculate the cost of a lost present very differently to their partners.

Getting the balance right is important, if you never give a thought to the future, you are likely to fall short of fulfilling your potential growth and find yourself in difficulty, financially if nothing else.

Lesson: In the ongoing struggle to achieve ever more success there is no time just to be… to stop and stare or to smell the roses. Talk to most workaholics and they have little idea how to relax and enjoy the moment. The concept is alien to them and they find it most uncomfortable. They see no reason why anyone would want to do it.

 

Living In The Now

Here are my top ten tips to learning to live in the moment, they are designed to fit in with a busy schedule and are just a starting point, they may appear inconsequential but done regularly they start to have a profound effect.

  • As you wake up each morning spend a couple of minutes breathing deeply. Breathe in deeply to the count of 2, hold it for 4 and breathe out to 4. As you breathe be conscious of exactly how each part of your body is feeling.
  • Tell yourself that you choose to be happy today and that you will find time to enjoy this day to the full. (Once past it is gone forever.)
  • As you take your shower or bath in the morning be conscious of how the water feels on your skin. Feel the temperature of the water and the sensation of the soap or shower gel on your skin. Contrast that with the roughness of the towel or the softness of your robe.
  • During the day stop and take a small amount of time to consciously notice your surroundings. Use each of your senses in turn, what can you smell or hear, look for the colour or texture of things around you. Be aware of how you are feeling. Even five minutes out of your busy day done on a regular basis will make a difference.
  • Smile, and make a conscious decision to make someone you pass in the corridor or lift to smile back. Be aware of how it makes you feel.
  • Create five small random acts of kindness during your day. They could be a simple as letting a fellow driver out of a side turning or helping someone with their bag. Notice how it makes you feel.
  • Do something, which makes you smile or laugh each day. Be conscious of how you feel when you laugh.
  • As you travel to or from work take the opportunity to observe an aspect of nature. Look at the sky – see the cloud formation or look at how the trees are moving with the wind, look at the individual petals of a flower, or watch the raindrops making a pattern on the train window.
  • Set time aside within your busy timetable. Plan your time over a week or fortnightly cycle. Set aside time each week to enjoy simply for now. A quiet time to walk with no other intention than to enjoy it, or time to spend with your significant other.
  • Just before you go to sleep think of five things that you have been grateful for during the day. They can be as small or as significant as you choose.

Maybe it is time to start living now rather than waiting for your real “life” to begin once you have achieved professional success. The danger is that by the time you are ready to “live” you may be on your own or your health will have suffered in the mean time.