Let's just put this out there first and foremost - the reason why I would consider myself knowledgeable enough to write this blog post is NOT because I've got this whole "live life with intention" thing down pat. Quite the contrary - I struggle so much with this!
My perfectionistic and controlling tendencies make me want to prioritize the things in life that DON'T matter as much such as how clean the house is, if items on my to do list are being crossed off, if my life looks really good to the outside onlooker....
Like I said... not the important things.
Because I struggle so much with this, I feel it gives me even more reason to write this article, and so I present you with my struggles, and what I'm trying to do to be more present and truly LIVE and not just EXIST. I hope that something resonates with you or one of these goals can also help you in your journey living more in the moment and enjoying the life you have! So without further ado, here it is!
5 Ways Start Living More in the Moment and Truly Enjoy the Life You Have
1. Prioritize friendships and most of all - your relationships. Endeavor each day to give your significant other and kids the BEST parts of you and your time, energy, and attention. If you have kids, focus on listening more. I heard recently that if you want your kids to talk to you when they're 14, listen to them when they're 4.
Make feasible goals to be intentional about spending time with the significant people in your life. P.S. We are all different, so start out small and choose goals that you know will work for you. These are mine:
- Make it a priority to go on one date a week with your significant other. This means actually dress up and go to dinner and a movie, or stay in, order delivery, light some candles, and cuddle on the couch, whatever you would like! If you have kids, then schedule a babysitter for one night every week no matter what.
- Make it a priority to get together with a friend or group of friends once a week. Prioritize your friendships and be intentional about spending time together. Plan 1 get together with a girlfriend or girlfriends a week. Or make is spontaneous and show up at their house with a bottle of wine. Whatever you enjoy doing, make it happen and prioritize it. Also, when you are with your friends, try to focus on the positive. Another quote I love is "Talk about your blessings more than your burdens". I'm not saying don't discuss the difficult parts of life. By all means. That's a huge part of what having friends is for! But if you find that the majority of your conversations focused on the negative in your life, then maybe reflect on that and analyze if that's what you really want to focus all of your time on with friends.
- Every 3 months switch off choosing a new activity to do with your significant other. I got this idea from one of my best friends that does this with her fiancé and I LOVE it! Every three months, you switch off choosing an activity of your choice (and your partner can't complain)! It could be a month of massage classes, or golf lessons, or a month of a rock climbing membership, or a kayaking group, WHATEVER you want! We are starting this goal this month and I can't WAIT to see the adventures and memories it bring along with how much fun and bonding it will add to our relationship! And P.S. whenever your activities take place, they can double as your date night. And heck, maybe it will be so much fun that you eventually start switching monthly! It's completely up to you! But just do it.
- Prioritize 10 minutes of spiritual time each day. Whatever you believe in, spend time there. As a Christian, I endeavor to prioritize my relationship with my Lord and Savior. I value spending time in God's Word each day and how much it refocuses and calms me and reminds me of what's truly important in life. Our church sends out a daily scripture reading to our email that takes about 60 seconds to read, and then I reflect and pray on it. If your thing is meditation, then meditate, if yoga, then do your 10 minutes of yoga. Whatever it is, get grounded and devote time to it.
2. Focus on the 5 senses.
Wherever you are, and whatever you are doing throughout the day, focus on living in the moment by being intentional about experiencing life through all of your 5 senses.
Sitting down to dinner with your family? Actually savor the food, listen to the sounds of laughter, or sounds outside, play footsie with your significant other... challenge yourself to use all of your senses! Taking the dog for a walk in the morning? Slow down, take a couple deep breaths, smell the air, maybe even stop to smell your neighbor's roses, take a deep breath in, listen and actually look at the birds that are singing and flying, take off your sandals and walk through a section of grass - grounding yourself to the earth.
"The Earth has music for those who listen" - Shakespeare
3. Minimize technology.
Ok y'all. THIS is what I REALLY need to do some MAJOR work on. The struggle is real. I think especially with having a blog and feeling like I should take pictures of food or moments that my readers would enjoy, and then getting likes and comments and trying to make sure I'm responding doesn't help. I am WORKING on minimizing technology though as best as I can.
One of the goals that I'm implementing is that if I am watching a movie or tv show or on a walk or on a date, I will choose to put my phone and computer on silent and away from me. Technology and social media sucks WAY too much time and intentionality out of our lives, and we need to actively reduce the power that it has over us. P.S. If you are rarely on your phone - I applaud you. You're awesome. Keep it up.
4. Don't let yesterday [or tomorrow] take up too much of today.
Can I hear an amen?
I am constantly analyzing past events, both big things like ways I've majorly screwed up, and little things like saying something stupid or saying too much in a conversation 5 minutes ago. That's fine, everyone does that, and it's good to reflect a little, but the issue is when we DWELL. And well, that really has no purpose in my life than giving myself ammunition to beat myself up (no point to that either), and make me miss out on what could be happening now! Anyone else do this? Perhaps it's the control freak inside of me that unrealistically wants to control that which I cannot - the past and the future. I'll have to ask my therapist about that.
But either way, the past is gone. Move on. Stay in the present. Check yourself before you wreck yourself (not sure if that applies here but it did in my mind). Oh and don't obsess about the future either! What's going to happen is going to happen. And believe me, I am ALL ABOUT putting in the hard work and actively building your future into what you want it to be. I'm talking about worrying about things out of your control. My husband tell me all the time - "Worrying is like a rocking chair - it will give you something to do but it won't get you anywhere". Gosh he's such a smarty pants.
"Don't dwell on the past, life goes on with, or without you." - unkown
"Don't dwell too much on the future either, because it's going to happen whether you like it or not" - Jenna Lodin (yup. that just happened)
5. Be flexible and Spontaneous.
Friend calls you up? Go meet up. A promo email tells you that there are $80 tickets round trip tickets to Napa for this weekend? Just do it. Husband wants to go on a date and you're in your pj's? Rally and go get ice cream. You miss an exit on the freeway? Don't freak out (like I usually do). Take the next exit and just drive through and notice a new part of town you've never been to as you mosey on back to the freeway rather than grumbling, cursing, and trying to scramble your way back (obviously not personal experience for me or anything... [note sarcasm]). Want to spend time outside more? Go to Home Depot and buy yourself the starting of a garden. It's your life. Do what you want. And be flexible and spontaneous.
You won't regret those moments of spontaneity.
Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.
Every single day I wake up and I have a choice.
A choice to wake up and be daunted by the day and a to do list of items I need to do, or a choice to do my best and be content with that and make room for the unexpected moments that make life beautiful.
A choice to be consumed by worries and fears for the future, or a choice to live day by day and be thankful to God for what I am blessed with right now.
A choice to choose money and convenience, or a choice to prioritize friendships and relationships.
A choice to to miss out on a creating a memory, or a choice to be spontaneous and try something new.
A choice to choose anxiety and stress, or a choice to choose joy, regardless of circumstance.
A choice to take my husband for granted and give him the "extra" parts of my day or attention, or a choice to love on him and give him the BEST parts of my day and attention.
A choice to walk as fast as I can from destination to destination, being as efficient as possible, or a choice to walk slowly, breathe the air deeply, take in the sounds around me, and notice something new.
Each day is a choice, so choose well.
And finally - here's what it all comes down to:
So keep those feet dirty, hair messy, and eyes sparkling.
Do you struggle with this also? If so, any other ways you've learned to combat it?