Living each day as a series of once-in-a-lifetime events.
How much of your time is spent being busy without a clear focus or direction? How much of your time do you spend on auto-pilot, happily living off of habits—some that lead to awesome outcomes and some that leave you wondering “WTF?”
As humans, this experience is normal. In fact, our brains are hardwired to operate from habits so we can conserve energy for harmful and dangerous things that may happen. However, with a little commitment, determination and desire we can draw on our brain’s power to be present in each and every moment.
Imagine the wonderful impact of saying less if it meant being more respectful to ourselves and others. Imagine the time we could save if we made decisions based on the facts that are present right here, right now—instead of those from past experience that may not even be relevant anymore.
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” ~ William James
“Choosing the now” means being present in each moment, which allows us to live life as though it is a series of once-in-a-lifetime events.
This tool allows us to pre-pave a positive outcome during any part of our day. It lets us get to continuously enjoy people, things and experiences we value and live for. Choosing the now helps us learn about ourselves in terms of the types of thoughts we habitually churn through our minds. It lets us discover if we have healthy and vibrant inner dialogue that guides our actions or not. By choosing the now, we can become fully in charge of ourselves—if we don’t like the thoughts we are holding, or if they don’t lead to outcomes we prefer, we can consciously choose to think differently.
Choosing the now enables us to focus our attention and intention on positive and specific outcomes during anything that we are engaging in, such as ordinary everyday tasks, having effective communication with our partner or completing tasks that we traditionally have not enjoyed. It allows us to catch ourselves in the moments when things are not going as we had hoped, and to take charge of our thoughts. With practice, we will be able to set up positive outcomes. If we find ourselves experiencing negativity or displeasure in any way, it is easier to stop, pause and focus our attention on creating a different outcome than to stay in the current state. Generally, if we are in a negative mood, those feelings are powerful, and we tend to take them into all other situations, activities, experiences and interactions throughout the rest of the day.
With practice, choosing the now becomes a natural process. A process that allows us to create our future consciously.
We can become more active in taking accountability for our lives, the outcomes we experience and the ripple effect we have on others.
We can choose the now at any moment by remembering the following tips:
This is the most powerful step, as it allows us to move beyond auto-pilot and habits, to become fresh and begin living in the present.
We should be clear about our desired outcome, ensuring that it is respectful to both ourselves and other people.
3. Take action
It is vital that we behave and speak in ways that are fully aligned with our intention. Simply intending is not enough, we must take accountability for our outcomes through action.
The goal is to be able to choose the now for different chunks of our day, by chunks I mean activities, tasks, experiences and interactions.
An example day may look like the following:
1. When waking up and thinking about the type of day you will have, intend a clear picture of a day in which you are motivated and happy.
2. When getting out of bed and having breakfast, intend to be nourished by your food so you have energy and vibrancy for the day ahead.
3. When traveling to work (or wherever), intend a safe and time-efficient journey, where you arrive at work in a happy and positive mood.
4. When encountering verbal communication, intend clear communication and to walk away with clarity about the current environment and actions that need to be completed. Intend to listen to everyone so that all people are heard.
5. When taking phone calls, intend efficiency, brevity and clear and respectful communication.
6. When traveling home, intend safe travel for yourself and all those around you. Intend freedom from traffic congestion, relaxation and time to clear your mind from the day so far.
7. When spending time with family, intend to focus on what you love about your family.
8. When going to bed, intend restful and undisturbed sleep.
You can have as many or as few chunks as you wish, depending on the outcomes you wish to experience and also based on the moods you want to feel throughout different parts of your day. The great thing is, you have complete control and it’s all up to you.
The key to success is to take a moment before starting each chunk of your day to become conscious and accountable for your choices. Take a moment to pre-think the outcome you intend for each chunk. With your focus on the positive outcome, you create the opportunity for it to occur.
You will start to consciously discover that based on what you think and feel, you attract circumstances, experiences and interactions that match.
The more you feel happy, the more happy circumstances you’ll find yourself in. This applies to any emotion, painful or pleasurable. We need to pause many times during each day and ask ourselves, “What is it that I want in this task/interaction/circumstance?”
Experiment with living each day as a series of once-in-a-lifetime events and notice all of the wonderful changes that occur.
Christine McKee, a registered psychologist, is director of BE Institute, a psychology consulting and training organization in Brisbane, Australia. She uses a combination of eastern philosophy and modern psychological techniques with her clients in the corporate, private practice, mining, government and not-for-profit arenas. Chris is dedicated to empowering individuals to reconnect with their inner wisdom and in doing so, return to wholeness. Christine is the published author of BE by Design: How I BE Is Up to Me.
Editor: Maja Despot
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