The Power of Living in the Now

Living in the Now, is one of the most powerful tools for living your best life. The drive to be constantly doing something, makes us distracted and so focused on the daily grind, that we have little time for relation, creativity or self-development.

So here is my list for this week. Living in the Now:

  1. Let go of the past. Create a new identity by releasing the pain and self-limiting thoughts of the past and taking things one day at a time.
  2. Don’t get too wrapped up in the future. Don’t be so busy chasing your future dreams that you overlook the joys of the present. Some of us (I am guilty of this!) spend so much time chasing after the future that we want – such as money for the down payment our our dream house, that we fail to live in the Now, so we keep that job that we dislike and work longer and longer hours. Then we get frustrated because life isn’t joyful.
  3. Practice Mindfulness. Become more aware of all that is around you – the weather, the thoughts in your mind, the breeze on your face. This practice helps to guide you back to the present moment and takes your mind of dwelling in the past and the future.
  4. Give up the myths of multi-tasking. Concentrate on really listening to conversations with others or cooking the dinner – I know if I try to multi-task while cooking, my food never tastes as good without other distractions around you.
  5. Set your intention for the day and for all the actions that you wish to achieve. This practice can help us focus on our long term goals in a way which allows us to live in the present. If my intention for the day is not to get overwhelmed by doing too much, I make sure my to-do list reflects that intention.
  6. Stop watching the clock all the time. Allow some time in the day  just to potter and enjoy life- to take a walk, pet the dog or water the plants. Step off the hamster wheel for a short while at least. If I get to the point of being overwhelmed, I practice meditation and ask the Universe to show me my next step.
  7. Go with the flow. Don’t try to control life so tightly. Try living life moment to moment. Get curious about what happens when you relax control and let go of the stress of trying to hold everything together. Movies and books are full of stories in which a stressed, uptight executive with a high powered job is forced to surrender to the flow of life and then finds a different more fulfilling way of life.
  8. Practice stepping away from all media – cell phones, emails, computers and video games for a period of time and just allow yourself to be.

What does your Now look like right at this moment in time?

Fear Busting

Fear is the basic emotion that limits our life. It controls our comfort zone and dictates our actions – if we let it. Fear limits us from taking risks too often  and fear is what prevents us from living a full life.

This week’s List for Living focuses on dealing with our fears.

  1. What are your greatest fears in life? If you had to name your top 3 fears, what would they be?
  2. Once you have your top 3 fears, lets examine them more closely. Write each fear down and start becoming curious about each one. Where did it come from? Often our fears are handed down to us, sometimes through the generations and they feel like part of our very fabric. What is the fear stopping you from doing? How is it affecting your life? What is it protecting your from?
  3. Step into your fear. Face it head on. Imagine that it has come to fruition. What would that feel like? Often we will try anything to avoid feeling what the fear is trying to protect us from, it is too painful to contemplate. But if we can step into our fear and really face it then it loses its power over you.
  4. Who would you be if you let your fears go? Our identity is often bound up with our fears, we see ourselves as victims of circumstance and as such we invest in our own fears. For example, a person who is frightened of having their heart broken, will identify themselves as a person who is unlucky in love. Their fear will guide them to unsuitable people so they can reinforce this impression of themselves over time.
  5. What would you do if you let your fears go? What are your fears preventing you from doing? Now you have examined your fears closely, are they justified? What are the consequences of letting your fears interfere with your goals? Write down the worst case scenarios that your fears are trying to protect you from and ask yourself, how realistic are they? Are there actions you can take to minimize those risks?

This list is designed for you to start bringing your fears into your conscious mind and become more familiar with them. If we can bring our fears out into the open and start questioning them, we become less afraid of living with them and this takes away some of their power.

Health – A New Confident You

What does health have to do with setting goals, you may ask. Well in order to gain the confidence to take action towards your goals you want to feel as good as possible, have as much energy as you need to make changes in your life and just to feel good about yourself in general. So here is my list of living this week.

1. Love yourself and your image right now.

Even if you want to make improvements to your fitness levels, your body weight, to pay more attention to your image, start by honoring the person that you see as you stand in front of a mirror.

If you find this hard to do, repeat each time that you look at your reflection, ‘I am enough’. Soon a change will come over you even if you do nothing else.

2. Decide what steps you are going to take first to improve your health and vitality. Do you want to improve your fitness level? Lose some weight? Gain more energy? Whatever you wish to do remember that your goal starts with a small step and then another and then another.

3.Healthy eating – Change eating habits one mouthful at a time. Make a note of the times when you are most likely to eat food that does not take you towards your goal. Some bad habits are caused by mindless eating. But some bad habits are caused by low energy at certain times of the day. In my case, I crave sugary, sweet things in the late afternoon, especially after a day at work, so I try to eat something which has some sweetness in it to satisfy my cravings. – I never found dieting a good way of altering my body weight. I know what my weaknesses are and when I make bad choices in my eating habits so instead of eliminating food that I know are bad for me, I will eat a generally good diet (fresh vegetables and protein) and then I don’t beat myself up if I lapse and have a chocolate bar. But the more you come to love and value yourself, the better your diet becomes as you get to know what is beneficial to your body.

4. Exercise – many of us do not get enough exercise in life. I am guilty of this having moved from one country to another, I don’t have a fitness plan worked out yet and one of my goals in the next couple of months is to put together a plan to incorporate more exercise into my life. I love how my body feels after I have been exercising, whether I have been for a long walk or been to a dance class. I don’t have a car so I walk everywhere I can, which I love doing. Neither do I have gym membership as I know I would not use it. But I have loved trying various sports in my life, including Tae Kwon Do and Pole Dancing! If you don’t yet do as much exercise as you would like, start small, start with a walk and look around for an activity which makes your heart sing.

5. Sleep – What is the right amount for you? Not to survive but to thrive! If you are deprived of sleep then look at how you can make the situation better. Are you an early riser yet you find yourself going to bed late? I know that after 9pm, I am too sleepy to do anything but read and get ready for bed. I am much better at getting up early to finish tasks than I am trying to stay up late at night to try to complete them.

6. Stress – How high are your stress levels right now? Focus inwards and find out if anything is causing you a high level of stress. I know if I have had money worries or worries about relationships for example, sometimes it is better to face them head on, to question them and come up with a plan to deal with them, rather than to have them linger in the back of your mind. Even low levels of stress can drain our energy which makes setting our goals seem impossible.

7. Mental health – just as we need be aware of treating our bodies well to prevent ill-health, we need to keep our minds healthy and active. There are many tools to help to keep our thoughts positive and healthy and they deserve a list of their own. A good starting point however are mindfulness and meditation. Even just an awareness of the thoughts which cross your mind is a great starting point to becoming more self-aware. We have the power to accept or discard any thoughts that we choose

8. This list has covered a lot of topics and it is not intended that you try all suggestions at once. That would for many of us be overwhelming but if the mood takes you, pick one starting point and go from there. One new haircut or a phone call to the local pool to find out the times of the swimming sessions is a great first step to healthy living.