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Living Healthier in the Now

May 28, 2010 by  
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Most of us have some health related goal or area of improvement that we are working on or hope to work on very soon. Keeping yourself mentally and physically aware while exercising and eating by using the “living in the now” concept I’ve been talking about in the last couple blogs, can get you through a strenuous workout as well as help you eat right all while increasing your enjoyment of these activities.

For most of us, getting through an exercise routine is a struggle. But if you are completely attentive to your movements instead of thinking about how you’ve never yet been able to keep up an exercise routine or letting your mind wander to how much nicer it would feel to be lounging on the couch, you aren’t as likely to quit in the middle of it. Just keep focused on the feeling of your muscles moving and listen to your breath as you control your inhaling and exhaling (a primary concept behind yoga and its distressing effects, by the way) and soon enough you will have completed your routine or finished that 30 minute run and are feeling great.

When it comes to food, it’s all about being mindful of what you eat, how much, and how you eat. When you reach in the fridge for something, consciously decide what will contribute to your well balanced intake for the day and choose your best options. Stop eating directly out of the box or bag and lay out a small portion on a plate that you can then take to a table or out onto the porch to enjoy. Choose a place with no TV or computer or anything else to distract you. Taste your food, becoming aware of every flavor and texture, and chew completely. You will find that eating “in the now” is much more enjoyable. It will also slow down your eating so you fill up on less food and will help your digestion by having food well broken down before it hits your stomach.

“Living in the now” will help you by not only increasing your appreciation of the sensations of exercising and eating well but will also help you attain your goals for a better, healthier life. You’ll feel great because of your accomplishments along with gaining the long lasting and compounding effects of the bliss that comes with being consistently happy in the moment.

Living in the Now while Planning for the Future

May 21, 2010 by  
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As I mentioned last week, you can strive to make your life better but you also need to appreciate what you have and what you accomplish today. This is the concept of living in the now. No matter what your circumstances are at the moment, you should strive to enjoy the life you are living today. This can be a difficult concept to put into practice, especially if you focus so much of your energy on the future and reaching your goals. So, how do you live in the now while working towards a better future?

The answer is to balance your thoughts between enjoying what you have now and looking forward to what you will have in the future.

Chances are if you are reading this blog you are a goal setter, or are trying to become one, so you probably spend a lot of time thinking about your future. And you should regularly take time to think about how your life will be when you reach your goals as it will help keep you focused on what you are after and motivate you to keep going. However, while chasing your goals, you should also be striving to live as fully and as passionately as you can, today.

For instance, don’t go to a cheap diner and spend the entire meal thinking about how you’ll be able to eat at high-end, ritzy places when you are successful and rich. There’s nothing wrong with letting that thought in—for a moment. But then sit back and enjoy your meal and don’t let your mind wander back to what you aren’t able to do, right now. Because right now, being frugal is probably necessary for you to eventually reach your goals as well as take care of today’s responsibilities. And besides, no ritzy place is going to have that sweet old waitress who calls you ‘hon’ and always has a colorful joke to get you laughing at the end of a long hard day.

So become a keen observer of your own mind, being conscious that you spend the majority of your time focused on taking in the experiences and sensations of the moment you are living in. Because what is the point of working through today just hoping to enjoy tomorrow? You should be enjoying today as well!

Enjoy the Journey

May 14, 2010 by  
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Recently I had a young man come to me in a near state of depression. I was surprised at how down he was as he usually very upbeat and positive. When I asked what was going on he said he was frustrated and felt like a failure. He had huge goals which he’d been continually working on but he felt he wasn’t progressing fast enough. He wanted his future to happen now.

I have found this to be a very common state of mind these days. Our advanced technologies have led us to habitually expect that we can access our wishes immediately. Super fast internet, instant downloads, DVRs, and multi-functional cell phones give us the ability to have some level of access to whatever or whomever we want whenever we want. But life, in general, doesn’t work that way. As a result, we are experiencing more and more frustration and impatience which ultimately leads to depression or anger.

Reaching a goal is a series of small, necessary steps but even when you are making steady progress, it may feel like it is taking forever to attain it because of all you must go through to get there. The key to a truly successful goal, however, is not only reaching it but also enjoying and celebrating life while you work towards it. In other words, you need to learn to appreciate the journey, not just the destination.

Over the next few weeks, I will talk more about what is often referred to as “living in the now”. Much of what I want to talk about is based on principles outlined in my book, How to Ignite Your Passion for Living. It’s hard to be passionate when you are frustrated and impatient but it’s not hard to be passionate about anything if you are passionate about living and enjoying the moment. That is really the ultimate goal.

Become One of the Influential People

May 7, 2010 by  
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I know I have been talking a lot recently about keeping the influential people in your life close to you. But what I may not have gotten across is just how important you are—or can be–to the people around you. You have run into people throughout your life that had amazing talent and wonderful gifts and were willing to share them with you and help you live a richer, fuller life. Well, you too have gifts that you can share with others that can help and inspire them. You probably influence more people than you know already and you can influence and enrich even more lives by just being aware of what you have to offer.

Take a moment or two this week to think about your gifts and talents. Ask your family and friends how you influence them. There may something you’ve said that you had no idea inspired your daughter to take a chance that landed her the great job she has now. Your best friend may have watched you reach your fitness goal and is now getting on the treadmill at home every day because of what you accomplished. Perhaps witnessing your kindness and generosity with the new guy at work, encouraged others to do the same with the next new hire. It’s hard to say how you can enrich others’ lives until you find out what you have done and start paying attention to what you are doing today. Then, once you know, you can look for more opportunities to do the same great things again and again.

The pay-off of being a great influence is not only knowing that you had a positive impact on someone else’s life but it is also an energizing and motivating way to live. Seeing the encouraging effect your actions and words have on others will boost you through the hard times as you struggle to reach your goals or deal with your own personal dilemmas. Working on being a positive influence is a win-win situation, good karma, and the ultimate way to pay forward all the great, motivating influence you receive from the great people in your life.