Mindfulness, or living in the now, is making the choice to focus on our present and live in our experiences. It sounds like something that should be easy, but it takes effort and practice. If you are struggling to live in the now, it might be because of one of these seven things.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; On purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn
7 Things That Keep You From Living In the Now
1 – You Are Trying to Hard to Fit Into The Mindfulness Box
Being mindful of the present looks different for everyone. There is a perception around how to practice mindfulness that would have you enjoy a clear mind except for what is happening right now. That is not a reality for most people because life is happening all around us. It is hard to live in the now when you are trying so hard to be like someone else, instead of yourself.
How you choose to practice mindfulness is just right for you. Like everything we do, living in the now takes practice and the more you do it, the better you will become. One of the key ingredients of living in the now is to not beat yourself up. Do what you can, learn your lessons, try again.
2 – Too Much Focus On The Goal
Having goals means that focus is placed on the future, which is the exact opposite of living in the now. Goals are important for moving forward and continuing your growth. The problem happens when you are so focused on your future goals that you forget the steps it will take to get there.
Stop making the goal the focus and shift your attention on what you can today, right now, in support of that goal. Other than visualizing and feeling the result, the big goal should be about the little steps you need to take along the way. Set the goal and intention, release and live now.
3 – Over-planning
Planning by nature is fine, but too much is the opposite of living in the now. When every little detail is scheduled in advance, the freedom of enjoying experiences as they happen is being restricted. Of course, there are things that must get done – just realize your day will be better when things just happen.
Keep a few hours of every day free from scheduled events. Give yourself the time for a walk, coffee with a friend or spending time with your journal. It is easier to live in the now when you stop focusing on what you have to do later in the day.
4 – Reliving Failures
Holding on to your failures keeps you living in the past and prevents you from living in the now. You know in your head that you can’t change the past, so allow yourself to make the best decisions right now with the information you have on hand.
Holding onto your failures will have you choosing scared. It will prevent you from making the right choices because you don’t want to repeat the mistake.
Learn from your mistakes and take the lesson with you, not the failure. It can be hard to do sometimes but when you are thinking about the failure, make sure and always associate the lesson with it. End your thought on the lesson not on the actual event.
5 – Seeking Immediate Satisfaction
We live in a 24/7 world and sometimes that knowledge works against us. When we expect immediate results, we are waiting for the result and not focusing on what is happening now.
The now includes the waiting and the process, and those are an important part of feeling satisfied and content. When we expect immediate satisfaction, it is hard to fully appreciate the experience.
Be okay with allowing things to happen in their own time. Know with each passing moment your satisfaction will be greater and last longer because of the process it took to get there. Slow down, look around and enjoy what is happening while you wait.
6 – You’re Easily Distracted
It’s hard not to be distracted in this crazy, chaotic world. Cell phones are ringing, texts are flying and you have a million things on your to-do list.
Distractions can take you away from the moment and shift your attention to something else. Trying to avoid distractions is also a distraction and can hurt more than it can help.
Know distractions will happen and when they do acknowledge it, make a note of it, and then go back to the task at hand. Bringing your attention back to the now is an important skill, and you can only do that when you acknowledge what is happening around you and choose to come back.
7 – People Pleasing
Let’s face it – we, as a society, are people pleasers. Unfortunately, when you spend time trying to please others you are not living your life, you are living theirs.
It is hard to remain in the now when you are focused on making other people happy. Instead of living in and enjoying your experiences, you are spending your energy trying to figure out your next step.
Ask yourself what you want and how you feel? Make sure you are living your truth and not trying to live up to someone else’s expectations.
By living your life, you can let go of the planning and just enjoy moments knowing you are on your journey and ultimately the right path.
Practicing mindful thought and living in the now can be frustrating at first. Remember that it looks different for everyone and your mindfulness practice should feel right not contentious. Give yourself the time to practice and enjoy the process. It does get easier over time.