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.