Make each day count…Don’t live your life assuming that you will live forever. No one likes to talk about it but life on this planet is finite. I hear people talking about their retirement and planning for things far in the future without any thought about possible interruptions to their plans along the way.
There is nothing wrong with having long term goals but the problems arise when people adopt an attitude of “I’ll be happy when…” or “I will relax when…”. I find this kind of thinking absurd. So many of us living monotonous mundane lives in the present moment with the fantastical hope that in the future it will all be better and they will find the elusive happiness they look for.
It’s a form of denial and a coping mechanism for dealing with life when things aren’t great. It’s far wiser to make the most of the moment, even if it isn’t ideal. Think about this honestly – when HAS life been consistently wonderful and great?Mine never has. I have fleeting moments of happiness and then they are gone. Life settles backs into it’s ups and downs until the next fleeting moment of happiness. That’s how life really is!
People who expect to feel continuously happy are kidding themselves. You can be happy one minute and the next kick your toe on a piece of furniture. You can be plodding along one moment and then notive someone giving you a dirty look and off your thoughts go, making up stories as to why that happened. Our thoughts continuously stream through our minds – rational thoughts, productive thoughts but also FAR MORE nonsense thoughts or negative thoughts that bring us down.
How to make each day count
Accept that life is up and down. It’s a fact. Instead of waiting for that perfect moment to arrive when you feel happy, confident, thin enough, pretty enough etc, just start doing what you want to do anyway. Don’t wait – there will never be the PERFECT moment. The perfect moment is the one where you decide to do it anyway despite not feeling overly confident or clever enough or thin enough etc. This is what builds confidence in life.
Stop avoiding and start doing!
Take time out of every day to sit still and be present – look at what you can see around you, what you can hear, touch, taste, smell and feel. When you use your senses you engage your brain in the present moment. It has less opportunity to fly off into strange thought land…
Mindfulness takes practise. I am always telling clients to engage in mindfulness and find it hard to do myself! I do this little exercise and it shows me just how tough it is:
When I get in my car I put my music playlist on and try to focus on the lyrics in a song. Usualy, this lasts a few seconds before I catch myself off on a tangent worrying about something else! I then put the song back to the beginning and try again. I still dont think I have managed a full song but I haven’t given up. Being mindful means emerging yourself in the present moment. We spen far too much time in our heads worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. The real power is in NOW. What we do in this moment shapes our future.
Just do it
There’s no time like the present moment to start something. For me, making each day count doesn’t mean I have to run a marathon or completely reinvent myself. Just writing a blog post makes me feel happy or partaking in a spot of self care – getting my hair done or doing a face mask. Seeing a friend counts too or spending time with my son and my dog. Anything in line with my values is good – I love learning, improving and helping others so any of those three helps me to feel I am living a good life.
If you aren’t sure what your values are – think about times when you have felt most happy. What were you doing? Were you travelling, working, creating something, spending time with others? Think about what made you happy as a child and about times when you have really been in the xone and time has flown – these are times when you have been attending to your values. Research shows we tend to feel more fulfilled when we live in line with our values.
Value-based happiness is a sense that our lives have meaning and fulfill some larger purpose. It represents a spiritual source of satisfaction, stemming from our deeper purpose and values.
Here is a brief test to help you uncover what motivates you:
Fear fills us with self limiting beliefs. Self limiting beliefs are one of the major reasons that we choose inaction over going for that we want. We end up with “what if..?” thinking and end up doing nothing. Learn to manage your fear. Often, the worst case scenario doesn’t happen and even if things don’t go according to plan, you will soon realise that you cope far better than you thought you would. Our brains play tricks on us and we listen when we should just try anyway.
The more we face our fears the more we grow in confidence. When we avoid, we never get to reality-test our predictions. Don’t be afraid of life. Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. Be brave, be kind and be silly sometimes.
Make each day count by doing something for yourself. When we look after ourselves without guilt we have far more reserves for others. A day that counts does NOT have to include achievement – it can be all about stepping away from the busy world we live in for some peace and traquility – do it if it’s important to you. We all have different ways to make each day feel it has been productive and well lived. We all want to be loved and accepted. Be kind to others, don’t judge and allow yourself the freedom without self limiting beliefs to live each day to the best of your ability.
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash