When we live in the past or the future, we leave no room to enjoy life right now. But if we can learn to live in the present, we will become more joyful, happier and appreciative. When we’re happier, we’ll be more successful. That’s right, success doesn’t bring happiness. Happiness brings success.

If you’ve been struggling with success, there’s a good chance it’s because you’re dwelling on the past:

  • You might be feeling like you wasted years of your life being in a certain relationship.
  • You might struggle with feelings of inferiority when looking at the past because you think of the life that you should have led.
  • You might worry that the life you’ve had wasn’t productive enough.
  • Maybe all you can see are missed opportunities. This leads to a struggle with regret.

Sometimes, this discontent leads to a struggle with shame. All looking backward at the past does is make us feel regret, nostalgia, or wish that we could rewind time to go back.

You might think that if only you could go back in time, you could change things and have a better life. You can’t. None of us can.

“If only” thinking leads to deep dissatisfaction with the life we have now. It can lead to feelings of grief, which can turn into depression. Looking toward the past is detrimental to living in the now, stealing our present happiness.

Here’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way… several times over. Accept the past for what it is—it made you who you are and gave you the strength and wisdom you now have. Appreciate it, but don’t let it be your focus.

If you’re looking too far into the future, that’s not living in the now either.

When we live with what could be or focus on the future, we can get stuck in judgment. This can lead to not accepting ourselves in the now or the life that we’ve built.

It’s okay to look forward to the future and to plan for it, but not to the extent that it prevents us from being present in the moment. When we keep our focus on the present, we won’t find ourselves worrying about what has happened or what could happen.

Here’s another lesson it took me a minute to learn. Not only can living in the now help in times of stress and crisis but also in simply managing day-to-day life. You’ll be able to take imperfections for what they are rather than allowing them to blossom into big deals. You’ll be able to appreciate the little things. You’ll stop measuring yourself and focus on self-love.

5 Reasons to Live in the Now

Reason #1: Improved Outlook

When we live in the now, our focus is squarely on what we have… not what’s gone or never was or won’t ever be. Because we won’t waste our precious hours dwelling on anything, we’ll be more open to life as it’s happening.

Our joy will be magnified. We’ll catch ourselves smiling for no reason. The weight of the world will be lifted from our shoulders. In essence, burning the candle at both ends will be a thing of the past. Instead of just existing, we’ll be living life to the fullest.

Doesn’t that sound fantastic? I mean, knowing that when we begin to see life as good, we start to expect good in return. And when we expect good, our emotions follow suit because our thoughts are in complete control of the emotional landscapes of our lives.

Reason #2: Increased Energy

It can be exhausting constantly jumping from thoughts of “what if…” or “if only I had…” which in turn leads to physical fatigue. Raise your hand if you’ve been there? (Two hands raised over here… .)

Fortunately, when we guide our thoughts to the now, we’ll discover that we don’t waste energy dwelling on things that don’t matter. We gain freedom from pressure and worry and can truly go through life trusting that on a conscious level everything will happen at the perfect, right time; we are exactly where we’re supposed to be.

This kind of balance means that what’s important will take center stage, and we won’t miss the opportunities coming our way.

Reason #3: Mental Clarity

We’ll have a sense of peace and well-being even during times of crisis; reacting anxiously or fearfully will no longer be our go-to response. We’ll know that chaos is transient and doesn’t have the power to steal our peace of mind unless we give it control. This is what allows us to continue living in the moment because we know that whatever is going on won’t last.

Many decisions are made from fear rather than by the truth of the moment. However, when we live in the now, we have a clearer picture of the way forward… the right direction for any decision at hand.

We won’t waste time or mental energy feeling like we didn’t get what we deserved. Nor will we constantly expect things because we’ll be focused on what we have with a positive, thankful attitude. If something does go wrong, we’ll be able to take it in stride. It won’t shake our belief in ourselves or in the goodness of our lives.

Reason #4: Boosts Self-Esteem

It’s so refreshing to have the self-assurance and understanding to know that we are fully capable of handling our lives. When we do, the way that we approach situations and others will definitely change.

We won’t be stressed out with worry all the time. We’ll take things one moment at a time. Our reactions will be formed from living in what is… not what could be and because of this, others will be drawn to our positivity and calm demeanor. They will literally see the peace within us.

As a bonus, these people who are drawn to us will be the ones that support us and give back rather than act as emotional drainers. Hallelujah! No more trying to control every detail of what happens. No more planning our lives to perfection. No more B.S.

Reason #5: Brighter Future

Trying to erase all the dents and dings we’ve gone through in our lives because we want a perfect future doesn’t work. It doesn’t allow for the growth that invariably comes from these roadblocks and distractions.

When we’re not living in the now, we immediately worry about what it means and how to fix it. Instead, when these things happen, it’s in our best interest to focus on the future; gently bringing our thoughts back to what’s happening right now. This will keep us from stressing on things we can’t control!

Ok. That’s it. Five reasons to live in the now. Let’s stop overanalyzing our lives and wasting our time. Let’s pledge to live in the moment instead so that we can take everything at face value. Sound good?

Five Ways to Take Action

As you can see, living in the now can help you create more of what you want in life. But it can be difficult to implement. Spend a few minutes each day over the next week reflecting on these questions to kickstart your journey into the present.

  1. What makes you rush in the mornings?
  2. What could you do differently to create a calmer morning routine?
  3. What is one life change you have been avoiding?
  4. How could you embrace this change?
  5. My positive resolution for today is…

I’ll be cheering you on! Drop a note in the comments to let me know how the transformation goes for you, or if there’s a tip you’d like to add.

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