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5 Reasons to Live in the Moment and Stop Planning Too Much

5 Reasons to Live in the Moment and Stop Planning Too Much

Live in the moment. It sounds simple enough but we as human beings have an incredibly difficult time enjoying the moment.

Why is that?

I believe we tend to spend so much time replaying past moments or planning too much for the future, that we miss out on the great moments that are unveiling right before use. So often we fail to stop and smell the roses. We don’t take the time to enjoy the present moment. This is sad because we have no idea how many more moments we will be fortunate to experience.

I am not proposing that we should spend less time planning. That would be misguided advice. Goal setting is important for us if we desire a contentment in our personal and professional lives. Setting achievable goals and taking the steps to accomplish them is a powerful way to cultivate personal responsibility. Implementing this kind of goal-setting provides meaning in our lives because we exude dedication, a strong work ethic, and often perseverance in attainment of these goals.

I believe our society has become a society so enamored with planning. There is often way too much talk of building for the future but what about building for the now? We all desire genuine happiness, and in order to manifest this joy we have to live presently. Too much focus on the future often leads to stress and negative thinking.

Why should you be focused on living in the moment, rather than planning too much for the future?

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1. The present moment is the only moment you have control over right now

No matter how much you plan you never know for sure how life is going to play out. The only time you will know is when you are in that moment.

The moment you experience right now is the only moment you can control. You can choose to enjoy the moment or you can choose to loathe the moment. You can also choose to ignore the moment completely and waste it away, but either way, the present moment is yours to control.

Planning isn’t going to take you out of the present. It might help you accomplish your goals but it is not going to improve your quality of life for the present moment. Planning isn’t going to guarantee you a desired outcome for the future so why not accept what you can control now?

2. Each moment is a gift

There is no guarantee on the number of moments you will get to experience. This is extremely important to realize. No one knows when the next moment of their life is going to be taken away from them. Your next moment is not guaranteed, so why not take advantage of the one you are in?

You can’t live with this unique perspective if you are constantly planning for the next stage of your life. You can only experience this zest for life if you are living in the present moment. It may even sound corny and unrealistic, but it makes perfect sense.

Don’t take moments for granted. Plan when it is necessary but not at the expense of you enjoying the present moment. As the old cliche states that life is short, so you enjoy it while you can.

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3. Being present is a great stress reducer

Thinking too much about the future, and the past, are often causes of stress. Even though some stress can be beneficial, the stress caused from not living in the moment can be detrimental to one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.

Over-planning can lead to unnecessary stress when the planning prevents you from living in the moment. Invigorate your life with present living strategies that will enable you to stay more focused on each moment.

You probably don’t have the luxury of meditating five hours a day and not setting some type of plan for your future, but implementing small changes into your life should help reduce stress.

Observe when your mind begins to focus on the future instead of the present moment you are experiencing. Ask yourself if this thought process is necessary. Simple awareness and recognition of your thoughts will assist you in being more present.

4. Plans often don’t manifest themselves the way you want or expect

This is a reality whether you want to believe it or not. How many times have you tried planning something but it just didn’t work out the way you want? How did you react? Did you get upset or did you handle the situation with acceptance and understanding?

Plans fail. As a member of a flawed species, you fail often. It is a part of life.

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Attempting to plan for every step of your life is not only impossible but it is probably not healthy for you. The more you plan, the more likely you are to become irritated or upset when those plans don’t come into fruition.

I am not suggesting you shouldn’t plan with the attitude that the plan will fail, but I am proposing that you let life play its course and just be.

Go ahead and make plans if that is helpful for you but don’t lose sight of the present moment. If your plans don’t work out the way you want, then at least try to accept it.

5. Living in the present will make you happier

I don’t like to throw the phrase “make you happier” around too often because nothing makes you happy but yourself. In saying that, living in the present is one of the sure fire methods you can adopt in order to manifest genuine happiness in your life.

Without delving into the all the data and research that is available, it is being discovered that present living is one of the most influential keys to well-being. Too much long-term planning is going to prevent you from enjoying the beauty of now.

Don’t impede yourself from experiencing contentment. Practice living presently, and observe how it makes you feel. Plan when you need to but don’t lose sight of what is currently happening.

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Find a balance between living in the moment and planning. You are only going to be able to control the moment you have right now.

The moment you have right now is a gift. Enjoy less stress by relishing the moment. Understand that plans don’t always turn out as expected. Accept the present for what it is and be happy.

Plan as you feel it necessary. Save money for a family and house. Invest in yourself. Set goals for yourself and realize them. That is what you are supposed to do. In this pursuit of planning, don’t forget about where you are in the present.

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Featured photo credit: Alejandro Alvarez via unsplash.com

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Mike Oppland

Mike is the Creator of Carpe Diem Motivation. He aspires to inspire individuals who are seeking a little extra boost in their lives.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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