In the bustle of life, it’s all too common to brush off the present moment. Let me explain.
When I was younger, I never really knew what I wanted to be. Except for when I was five, I wanted to be a garbage man.
I’m pretty sure it was because I liked the trucks.
Anyway, as humans we tend to always focus on the future. Who we’re going to be.
What we’ll finally start doing once we graduate. Once the project is complete. When we finally get that promotion at work. It’s really easy to put life over there, on hold, or in the future when a milestone is reached. We feel like our happiest, best selves are always just around the corner.
But we all have the magical ability to bring that future into today—into the present moment.
Annie Dillard said it best.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
It is the small things that we do each day that become the blur of a life well lived. While reading a book for five minutes today might not feel like much, it is this small act repeated that becomes a lifetime of self-directed education and enjoyment. One push-up might not seem like much, but one eventually becomes two. Two, three, and so on.
We only need to do what we’re willing to do over the long-term, so what’s the rush?
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Here are a few ways you can take this and make it real.
1 / Start smaller
It’s easy to feel like small changes don’t do much, but over the long term, the small steps are the most important. Small steps are how pyramids were built, how orchestras were written, and how businesses were built up sustainably over time. It doesn’t have to be a lot; in fact, make it as small as possible to decrease the resistance and increase the likelihood of a sustainable habit.
2 / Instead of setting a goal, choose a way to live
While goals are nice, the best way to accomplish them is to determine what small actions repeated over time will get you to the desired result. Then all you need to do is make those small actions your goal and part of your lifestyle.
3 / Let go of the past
You can’t change the past. The beauty of the quote “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives” is that each day, we get to reinvent ourselves by doing what matters to us. It is this doing that changes who we are and who we become. Focus on what you can do today, in the present moment. That is the gift each of us have when we embrace the present moment.