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Learning To Live In The Present

John Lennon

John Lennon sang “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”. I happen to think that making plans is fundamental to success in any endeavour. But Lennon’s point is that if you’re not enjoying the journey, you’re in danger of letting your life slip by without noticing it. Here’s how you can learn to live in the present.

All we really have is now

The past is gone, and the future hasn’t happened yet, so all we really have is the present.

Recently, some of my clients have said they find themselves always worrying about the future, or dwelling on the past, and they’d like to live more in the present. But how can you achieve this in a practical sense? The answer: by consciously creating and nurturing new habits that will help you to savour the moment and enjoy your life. This is simply about paying attention, or what some call mindfulness. It’s all about the little things.

Notice the small things

Think about all the things you do that you take for granted on a daily basis: taking a hot shower, eating a meal with your family, riding on the bus, going for a walk, talking with friends.

Try to use all your senses. When showering, instead of thinking about the work day ahead, focus on how good the hot water feels on your skin. Sit at the table for dinner instead of in front of the TV, and endulge your taste buds in a home-cooked meal. Take pleasure in watching the world outside the bus window or while on a leisurely stroll. Be grateful that you have such good friends and make an effort to really listen and understand them.

Make it easy

One exercise you can try to get you started, is to set your watch or phone to make a beep every hour during the day. This is to remind you to stop and think about whatever it is you’re doing, and make a conscious effort to notice more.

For example, if you’re in a business meeting, you may decide to become more engaged in the conversation, or offer everyone a fresh cup of coffee. If you’re entering data into a computer, maybe you can make a game of it, or listen to some music while you type. The important thing is to find a way that suits you to make your day more pleasurable. Life coaching can help you to build and maintain these powerful habits.

The more you do this, the easier it will become, and soon you will find that you automatically look for ways to enjoy everything you do.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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