If you’re anything like me, you’re a planner – and that means constantly planning what you’ll be doing this upcoming weekend, next weekend, and when you’re going to move into your own apartment and get a puppy after graduation. One thing that I’ve learned from my experiences in college, studying abroad, and life in general is that life isn’t fun when you’re constantly planning and looking forward to what’s coming next. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed opportunities and have let things pass me by because I’m not present all the time. Don’t get me wrong there are times when it is really important to plan ahead, like applying to college or getting big assignments done before a deadline – but when it comes to life in a general sense, it’s time to learn to let go and be present.
Stop Making Plans for Every Weekend in Your Foreseeable Future
Start thinking about what you want to do later today rather than what you’re planning on doing next weekend. By focusing on the present day you can make plans to have fun today rather than drearily going throughout the week waiting for the weekend plans to come. Trust me, it isn’t fun just ‘trying’ to make it through the week. Also, if you plan so much all the time then when you do have plans you’ll only be thinking about future plans if you’re current event isn’t as fun or exciting as you had ‘planned’ it to be. Are you seeing a theme yet?
This one I particularly enjoy because it forces you to focus on what’s going on around you and within you. By pushing out other thoughts and using the mental space to feel, listen, and breathe in what’s going on in the present moment, you’ll start to feel more connected with yourself and become more aware of the things that are directly around you. Here’s a meditation podcast I liked to listen to when I was just getting started: Meditation Oasis
Make a List of Things You Love To Do… And Then Do Them
When you don’t have anything to look forward to in your day it makes it really easy to focus on what’s coming up in the future that you can look forward to. Something that has really helped me was making a list of all the things I love to do and then making sure I find time in my day to do at least one of those things. Not only will having a list like this to remind you to do the things you love, but it will also spark interest in those things when you forget it’s something you enjoy doing. Here’s some items that are on my list:
- Going for a Walk in Nature
- Reading a Book
- Making New Crafts for the House
- Write a Blog Post
- Go Outside and Take Pictures
Stop Waiting for Something Better
Has there ever been a time where you’ve regretted not taking advantage of an opportunity because you believed something better would come along? Yeah, it’s happened to all of us, but the only way to prevent that from happening again is to stop waiting. Being almost done with my undergraduate education and on my way to starting a career and living on my own, I am constantly searching around for the apartment I want to live in, the kind of dog I want to get, etc. etc. But by already having my future mapped out and by bee-lining for the future I have set in mind, I could potentially pass up a really good opportunity. Uncertainty is scary, but the greatest lesson I’ve thought myself is this:
If I have everything figured out already, then the future would simply be boring.
It’s true, something better may come along after you’ve already committed to something – but who’s to say you can’t walk away and take that other offer? The only thing you should be committed to in this life is yourself and your happiness. So open up that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for 10 years and enjoy the present moment. If something good came along once, then you haven’t used up all your luck – something good will come along again. All you have to do, is stop waiting and start living.
Trust me when I say that this is a hard feat for me to conquer as well. During my junior year of college I had the opportunity to take a Strengths Quest test. If you don’t know what this is, it is a test designed to highlight and give you information to your top 5 strengths. Guess what my number one strength was? Futuristic Thinking. I am a planner! There is nothing more I love to do then plan things out, for myself and for other people. But by constantly being in the bubble of planning my future, I’m not experiencing my present and it’s something I really want to change. I hope some of these tips can help you take a step back from your future and start to really enjoy your present 🙂