No longer can we say “I’ll get to that, next year.” It’s time.
Let’s commit to focusing on right now.
Focusing on the people, places, and things we are in front of here and now. Paying attention to the person across the table. Really focusing on them, on what they say and do. Really listening to understand, not to craft a comeback or out-do their story. Really listening to the person on the other end of the line, not reading your email at the same time. Be there 100% for that person. They will notice.
Let’s stop wallowing over the past. Sure, it’s great to review the year(s) past and mark our progress. It’s fun to reminisce about our youth or what we think of as simpler times. It’s good to recognize what happened and to want to be better next time. Just remember, next time is right now – right here in front of you. Pay attention to now or it may be gone before you can enjoy it.
Let’s stop worrying about the future too much. Planning is wonderful and powerful, but it can overpower the now if we are not careful. It’s important to have an aim, goal, or intention. And to stay motivated day in and day out we need to know what we can do TODAY to keep moving toward that aim. So planning is good. BUT – If you always keep your head down looking at your plan, your calendar, your list – you’ll miss what is happening right now. Look up. It’s an amazing world – right now.
Let’s commit to getting into action right now.
That plan you created to reach your goal was time well spent. Now it’s time to execute. Instead of worrying about what might happen or when you’ll be able to get to all of those tasks, commit to getting into action now.
Opportunities to create this habit of action are everywhere. I’ll bet if you go through your day you will notice all of the little things you put off until later. “I’ll get to that pile of mail later.” “I really need to call her, but nor right now.” Whether it’s writing that blog post, making that call, or putting away that pile of receipts (or laundry, or …) the more you postpone, the more difficult it will become to get back on track. For each time you make a decision NOT to take action, you are adding to your future pile of work – the list gets longer and longer.
What if you did it now? Sure, you can’t do everything right now – at least not according to the physics I know. But you can avoid postponing things. Especially the smaller things. If something takes only 5 or 10 minutes, do it now! Not only will have have completed the task, but you will have created momentum. Success is the great motivator. Our brains physically respond to these small successes by producing dopamine which causes a slight euphoric state. This euphoric state is reward for action which in turn creates a desire to take another action. An ‘all natural’ happy feeling – why not now?
Let’s focus on being happy right now.
Part of balancing our focus between the past, present, and future is about happiness. If we focus too much on the past and reminisce, we miss the opportunity to be happy now. We miss the memories that are being created right now. We miss the opportunity to CREATE memories – to design them as we want them to be. If we either worry about the future too much or are waiting until everything is just right before we choose to be happy, we will never be happy now.
This may not be news to you. You’re an intelligent person. You’ve been around the block a few times. You may know that you spend too much time in the past or worrying about the future. It’s just too hard to change.
Getting started is the hardest part. But we do have a choice. It’s one of the wonders of being human – our powerful intellect. We can choose to be miserable and stressed and unhappy. Or we can choose to be happy now. It’s a habit like any other and it takes time to build the happiness muscle, but we can do it. One day at a time.
Let’s commit to focus on now a little bit each day. If we commit to focus on now, if we commit to get into action now, we can increase the strength of being able to choose happy now.
Let’s commit to now. Here’s your chance. Answer this question right now: