Motivation Monday: How to Get to “Next” without exhausting the “Now.”

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I have been finding it astoundingly easy to focus on the future lately. How will I (make more money) (find more happiness) (have more friends) (grow more plants) next year? I’ve tried, on purpose, to think about why I feel the need to do this so much.

One part is natural: the future is exciting. Any day with me is probably a little humdrum by comparison with all that possibility. This part of my personality has always been with me, making me look forward to things even if I am also quite content in the present.

Lately, though, I’m afraid I’ve stopped giving the “now” enough credit. At work, I’m trying to get things done in the hope that some abstract future date will be less breakneck, less busy. I don’t know that such a day will truly come, but I do think that it might be beneficial to slow my roll a little and try to notice some of the cool things I’m doing before I immediately move on to another task.

I notice this tendency as well in (ironically) yoga class. I quantify (how many more leg lifts this week than last week) and I think about my cell phone and I think about how close we are to the end of class. I’m not proud of this: I don’t do yoga to somehow get a cool spreadsheet of facts and figures about how good it was for me! I do it because I want to be present, and the sensations in my body are usually good and challenging and healing.

So I’m telling myself more often that, while I can definitely daydream and definitely note my progress on things, I need to give myself space, even on Monday (“most high octane of all the days”), to do these things, participate in each minute of my life, without making it just a day to add to my growing stockpile of past days on the endless march toward “not quite yet.”

7 Comments, RSS

  1. Liv Miles October 16, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

    I totally feel this. Quantifying progress is addictive; I feel like if I can’t see a tangible benefit in an activity, like going for a walk or just relaxing, it’s very difficult for me to see the point in doing it. Mindfulness and being present are their own rewards, though. Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

  2. sweetshandishawca October 16, 2017 @ 7:34 pm

    Thanks for the reminder! I’m a lot like you, always focusing on the future, the “next”, whether it’s stressing about it, planning for it, or just plain daydreaming. I definitely need to learn how to be more present and it’s always comforting to know that others are experiencing the same thing.

  3. jeffrycube October 16, 2017 @ 10:22 pm

    Yeah. I have been experiencing the same thing in which I’m much super excited in the future. that I had neglected what is now 😀 So inspiring 🙂

  4. mzukowskiblog October 16, 2017 @ 11:48 pm

    I agree! I also believe that if we focused more on every minute, and did our best within that minute, the future would be less of a problem. Great post!

  5. Tread Lightly, Retire Early October 17, 2017 @ 6:02 pm

    Currently looking ahead to our Hawaii trip next month – definitely makes it difficult to concentrate on the now! But you’re totally right. There’s so much good stuff going on right now.

  6. helenwelsh18 October 18, 2017 @ 5:00 am

    Hi Laura, I empathise! Yoga is such a nice place to dream … I’m reading your post just as I start a day’s work on a research proposal and you’ve reminded me to enjoy the process as well as steer straight for the goal of getting it handed in on time. Trouble is, I enjoy it so much that I’m in less of a hurry to finish it than I should be! But hey … life is good. Wishing you enjoyment in your present and lots of boxes to tick at the end of the day.

  7. Cindy Anderson October 19, 2017 @ 6:25 pm

    It is challenging to remember to be aware of the present and less focused on the future. I’m of the age where the days in the future are fewer than those that are behind me. As a result I am more focused on today.

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