The List That Will Help You Stop Living In The Future (And Start Being Present)
Every day as I pick up and drop off my son from school, I take this long winding road up in the hills of Berkeley. We pass by big, beautiful homes that have these amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and all of the bay area.
Any time I saw a “for sale” sign in front I would imagine what life would look like if I could buy that home. I could see myself waking up in the morning and having my coffee as I looked out across all of Berkeley and into San Francisco.
Some days I felt inspired and excited to focus on myself and my business so that fantasy could be a reality but other days…that fantasy just made me feel…less than. I would feel resentful and angry about how expensive it is to live in the bay area. I would be discouraged and wondered if I was kidding myself for even thinking that could be a reality for me.
What was once a nice drive was making me a little nutty and then it hit me…I was getting fixated on what I didn’t have. I was so focused on all the things I lacked that I couldn’t see what I did have.
The craziness of all of this is I was driving to and from my own home in the hills, and I too, had an amazing view. Yet, my current home isn’t as big and not in the most convenient location so therefore I shouldn’t settle for what I had…I need to keep pushing myself.
Have you ever walked by a store window, spotted a pair of shoes and thought, “If I had those shoes I would be happy.” Maybe it’s something even bigger like, “If I get this promotion and big pay raise…I’ll be happy.” or “If I meet someone and fall in love…I’ll be happy.”
Personally, I’ve said all 3 to myself at some point.
When I think back to those times in my life I just want to shake myself and scream, “You’re life is happening now! Stop waiting for the future to decide to be happy!”
Ugh…why do we do this to ourselves?! Our lives are happening now and we can choose to be happy now.
Action Step: You gotta get grateful….
If you want to stop living in the future and thinking that a person, a job, a pair of shoes will be the answer to your happiness, you’ve gotta get grateful. Listen, making a gratitude list isn’t the most groundbreaking action step but…it works.
Here’s what I want you to do, grab a notebook or journal and put it by your bed or next to your coffee maker, somewhere you can see it so you remember every morning to make a list of everything you’re grateful for in your life today. You have to have at least 5 things and I challenge you to not list the same 5 every day.
Make the list as long as you like and get into some details. Why are you grateful for this person? What did they do today or yesterday that made you so happy? Why does your job make you happy? Why do you love your pet so much?
Write this list every single morning for the next 2 weeks and check in with me…let me know what’s changed for you.
Dig in there so you can see that you’re happy now and while there is nothing wrong about fantasizing about the future or dreaming of achieving a big goal, you’re life is happening now.
I still drive by all those big houses and I do think about drinking my coffee on the back deck but I no longer attach my happiness today whether or not I can afford that house.
Are you living in the future? Are you waiting for your life to start when you fall in love, get that job, lose 20lbs…if this is you…stop and start practicing gratitude. Make that list every morning and start focusing on what really makes you happy, not what you think is supposed to make you happy.