“Dad, Dad, Dad! Are you listening?” my daughter asked as she stood next to my desk, reading from her homework.
“Yes, my love, of course,” I replied, knowing full well that I was not present with my daughter at that moment.
“Great, what do you think of my response from my essay?”
“Uh, Uh, let me read it over myself again, so I understand fully.”
“You weren’t paying attention, were you?” she responded with a sad look on her face.
“No, love, I’m sorry, I have a lot on my mind.”
“Forget it, I’ll ask mom.” With that, she quickly grabbed the paper and walked back to her room.
I sat there with my head hung low, realizing that I had disappointed her for no reason other than my own selfishness, lack of focus, and presence. It was terrible and something that I instantly regretted. I had to do better for her and myself. I made the commitment then and there to change for the better no matter what it would take.
This change may seem like a lot of work when you consider the distracted world we live in. We are constantly bombarded by all sides, from friends, co-workers, social media, news, email, and the internet in general. This onslaught has caused our brains to stay in a constant state of distraction. Fighting this is an uphill battle for most of us. Through lots of trial and error, I discovered a hack that worked for me. So how can you best deal with it? The trick is to start your day off right.
Here are 3 tips that will help you Be More Present by winning both the daily battles and the war.
Stop pressing snooze!
If you usually begin your day with multiple presses of the snooze button, you set yourself up for failure. Excessive snoozing puts your body and brain into an excited and anxious state. Think “Fight or flight.” This may have worked for your ancestors who were in danger of being chased by a saber-toothed tiger, but it doesn’t work for you. It keeps your brain on high alert all day, making it challenging to slow down and be present. Learn to get up after one calming sound from your alarm.
This puts your mind and body in a calmer state, so they are primed and ready to be more present.
Claim the day for yourself.
If you don’t claim the day for yourself, others will hijack it and claim it for you. Begin each day by spending some of the time you’ve gained by not snoozing for you and only you. This means closing your eyes and practicing stillness or meditation in complete silence. Meaning, before you pick up your phone or turn on the news or wake your kids. Doing any of these things will give your day away to others before you even realize it. First thing in the morning is the best time to be present to make the most of it.
Visualize your success.
While you are claiming the day in stillness, envision yourself having a positive and wonderful day where you are present in all areas. Actually, go through each experience in your mind and feel the feelings you will have throughout. If it’s difficult not to think about work, plan out the top three things you need to accomplish that day and go no further. As you plan, visualize what it will look and feel like to be present in each. Doing this repeatedly will literally re-wire your brain to be more present. Think of it as practice makes perfect.
Any of the three tips above will positively impact your days, yourself, and even others, making them worth doing. If the thought of changing your morning routine seems daunting as it did for me. Just remember, one of the best ways to eliminate bad habits is to replace them with new “good” habits.
Installing these new habits into my day took a couple of months. It was difficult at first, as I fought the frequent urge to go back to my old ways. Each time this happened, I remembered the dejected look on my daughter’s face and promised myself that I would never let that happen again. It’s also important to point out that we all need to have our own motivations. This is crucial to establishing any new habit or reaching a goal.
Consider this a bonus tip- Figure out your why. Once you know the profound meaning behind what you are working on, you can always draw on your why when times get tough. This worked for me, and it will work for you too. It also helped me to apologize to my daughter. I thanked her for providing the motivation to improve and promised her I would do better. The biggest reward I received was a huge smile from her along with a great big hug.
Make the commitment to implement these three new habits for a week. You will be more present in all areas of your life, and you just might put a smile on the face of someone you love.
Learn more useful tips and hacks by joining I Spark Change. https://isparkchange.com/