How to Reach Your Goals While Living in the Moment

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“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do, if you stay in the present moment.”

– Deepak Chopra

I once thought that trying to achieve my long term-goals and living in the moment were mutually exclusive. While I loved to accomplish goals, living in the present moment didn’t seem too important to me. Trying to finish each objective in my endless to-do list was my main priority. But in the process of living this way, I forgot to enjoy each moment and appreciate where I was in my life. When I finally realized that I didn’t have to choose one way of life over the other, I started enjoying my day-to-day as it’s happening and began working toward reaching the goals I set for a better future. So, how did I make this change in perspective happen?

Over the last few years, I’ve made many big, life-altering changes. I had a child, sold a home, bought and renovated a new home, started my own practice and blog, wrote a book, got pregnant with a second child, lost a dear pet, sold my new home, and moved once again. That might not seem like a lot to some people, but those changes made it challenging for me to remain present and enjoy the journey. I was so eager for my house to be done, for example, that I didn’t enjoy the renovation process. I couldn’t wait to give birth, so I forgot to enjoy my pregnancy. I was so focused on what the next change would be, or how I’d make my book, practice, and blog successful, that I forgot to enjoy the process of building something new.

It’s a wonderful thing to position oneself for success later on, but I was so concentrated on tomorrow that I was letting my todays slip away. My mind was so focused on what was next that I didn’t see the joy right in front of me. And if I didn’t change my mindset, it wouldn’t have mattered how many goals I set and accomplished, because I’d never have taken the time to just sit back and enjoy them. For me, this concept is so important that I put a list together of what you can do to live in the now, while also having future goals in mind.

Concentrate on one thing at a time.

Are you like me, always moving from project to project and never enjoying the moment? I’ve even been guilty of not totally finishing one project before planning the next one in my mind. Realizing this tendency, I’ve decided to focus on one project at a time, even when the thrill dies down. I’ve decided to dedicate myself completely to whatever I’m working on at the moment, keeping my attention on it until it’s complete. I’ve learned to take deep breaths, relax my mind, and release any nervous ideas I get about the future. When we can take it easy and let go of the outcome of any given project, we open the doors for more prosperous things to come into our lives. So take a deep breath, relax, and focus on one task, one moment, at a time.

Remind yourself to stay present.

One of my biggest challenges has always been reminding myself to stay in the moment, attending to one particular task at a time. Thinking of all the future stuff you have to do keeps you from being present. So, focus on what you’re doing in the moment by making a list of what needs to completed for the day, and concentrate only on those specific tasks. Stay in the moment with what you’re doing by centering your concentration on that task. Do things slowly, and break up the work. And remember, there’s no rush. In fact, if you take your time, you’ll get it done faster in the long run. To do this, you have to know how to manage your time. This might mean getting up a little earlier to be able to fully benefit from your efforts. But you’ll find that the reward of being able to live in the present and savor every moment is a gift that’s truly worth it.

Go with the flow.

Take action in pursuing your dreams and goals, but then stop worrying about the future and go with the flow. It’s important to plan and prepare, but the reality is that things don’t always happen the way you want them to. Sometimes things work out even better than you planned. Go with the flow, and make the best of every situation. This doesn’t mean giving up on your goals or dreams; it simply means trusting in the process.

Pick a time to look into the future.

Overthinking about the past and wanting to change it is harmful to your sense of self. When you always look toward your future and want to get there fast, you tarnish the present moment, taking yourself away from what you have now. Like I’ve been saying, this doesn’t mean abandoning your goals and dreams. It means that you don’t think about them all the time, so that you can appreciate where you are today. Be deliberate about taking time to think about your future goals. Set aside 15 to 20 minutes a day to visualizing the person you want to become. Be grateful for all the amazing things in your life, and appreciate what you have now while working toward what you plan to accomplish in the future.

It’s natural to have times during the journey of life when you feel like you’ll never get to the top of the mountain. It’s normal to think positively about yourself when you reach a goal, then get upset when you aren’t there yet. But the truth is, you will get to your destination if you have the dedication and perseverance. And while you’re on the path leading you there, why not enjoy and appreciate it? Take a moment and look around you. There are so many wonderful things to be grateful for in this moment. Never lose sight of your dreams and goals, but always stay present and cherish every moment along the way.

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Talk soon,

Dr. Ilene

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