Change Your Life In 2018-December Challenge: Live In The Moment

This post is the last in the 2018 "change your life" series.  I'm a few weeks late in posting this......happy 2019!!  We actually took a couple of weeks off (for the first time in 5 years) in an effort to take time for ourselves.  And it felt great!

This topic is incredibly relevant as a January post because living in the moment is a wonderful new year resolution.  It's a great gift to yourself.

"Live in the present, not in the past" is a very common and I suppose trendy saying.  It's excellent advice, particularly for those suffering from anxiety or stress, but how easy is it to actually do?

Our lives are very hectic and, essentially, focused on the future.  Schedule this, prepare for that, etcetera, etcetera.  Our lives are also very well documented, in this age of technology, which can make it incredibly hard to let go things that have happened in the past.

So how in the world do we live in the present?

If you’re just joining in, the “Change Your Life In 2018” series is my quest to make some small changes this year.  Rather than setting easily forgotten resolutions I wanted to focus on 12 changes that would help me learn and grow as a person.  I’ve chosen to focus on one change per month so that it could not only become a more manageable goal, but I have a better chance at making these new habits as well.  I hope you’ll join me in the challenge!

Thinking about the future can be very beneficial and provide us hope, especially in difficult times.  Reflecting on the past can provide healing and closure.  Obsessively focusing about either, however, can cause undue stress or anxiety.

Here are a few ways to help you remain in the present:

Pay Attention To Small Things
  • what do you hear and smell right now?
  • what is happening in nature?  Are there daffodils pushing up through the earth?  Or maybe the trees are fully shed of their leaves?  Try to pay attention as you walk or drive from point a to point b.
  • focus on your breath.  This is also a great way to shift your thoughts if you have a hard time staying in the present moment.
  • enjoy and fully embrace this moment right now.
Live In Gratitude
  • while you're paying attention to the small things remember to live in gratitude for each one.
  • verbally express your gratitude every single day, even for little things.  Your spouse says something to make you laugh?  Thank him for his comedic relief.  You friend says something kind?  Thank her for her for those kind words.

Stop Focusing On Past Mistakes
You can't change what happened in the past.  Let's say that together...…

You can't change what happened in the past.

We all know this, of course, but I think it's important to give yourself permission to forgive yourself for any past mistakes, forgive others (you don't have to forget, only forgive in order to move on), and allow yourself to live fully (and happily) in the present.

Perhaps your first thought might be "I don't do this".  I challenge you to remain very conscious of your thoughts.  The times when you're driving, cooking, or anytime you're on auto pilot, where does your mind wander?  If it simply reflects on the day either behind or ahead, this can be very beneficial.  If, instead, your mind wanders to events from days, months or years behind or ahead, it's likely not beneficial.  You are spending time focusing on events that you have no control over.

Last year I began trying to consciously pay attention to where my mind wandered and was surprised that at times I was replaying past events.  Events that had happened more than a year ago and were causing me undue stress.  It was toxic and keeping me living in that stress.  I've worked hard on learning any lessons that I could from those times and letting them go.  And it feels liberating.

Visualize Your Daily Goals
This is something I've been taking the time to do.  Later in the month I'll be sharing a post about a morning routine that has been life changing for me, and this is a part of it.

Take a few minutes each morning to go through a list of daily goals.  As you read one visualize yourself undertaking and completing the goal.  Many of us do this for major goals, but not necessarily daily goals.  It's a great way to not only ensure your daily goals get accomplished but to also keep you right in the moment.

You may be thinking - how can journaling keep you in the moment?  Doesn't it instead keep you in the past?

While journaling is all about documenting things you've accomplished, lessons learned, and anticipated events, some people find success in allowing the past to truly go into the past once they've documented it in their journal.

Practice Yoga and/or Meditation
Both of these focus on breath which keeps your mind in the moment.

Now it's your turn!  Have you found success in living in the moment?  What things have worked for you?  If you struggle with this, where do you get tripped up?

Find the introduction to the series here: 12 Things You Can Do To Change Your Life In 2018
Find January's challenge here:  Letting Go Of Regrets
Find February's challenge here: Figure Out What To Do With Your Life
Find March's challenge here: Setting Goals & Chunking Them Down
Find April's challenge here: Change Your Routine
Find May's challenge here: Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Find June's Challenge here: Simplify Your Life & Find Your "Why"

Find July's Challenge here: Your Thoughts Are Your Reality 
Find August's Challenge here: Take Care Of Yourself
Find September's Challenge here: Be The CEO Of Your Life
Find October's Challenge here: Find Happiness Today 
Find November's Challenge here: Make Kindness A Habit 

1 comment

  1. I love that Wayne Dyer quote. He was and still is a great teacher for me.

    I like the idea of taking a moment in the morning and visualizing the completion of goals for the day.
    I have posted above my bed for the new year, "Good things are constantly happening to me." I see it every time I walk into my room so that it is repeated several time daily.

    Best wishes to you and J and the boys in the new year!


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