3 Tools To Stop Living in the Past and Focus On Creating A Happy Present

3 Tools To Stop Living in the Past and Focus On Creating A Happy Present

How to Stop Living in the Past and Enjoy a Happy Life in The Present
Want to know how to stop living in the past and enjoy a happy life in the present? Read on for some helpful tools.

The past is good to learn from – not to live in.

If you’re looking for a second place to live, make it some place beautiful – like a beach house somewhere in Hawaii.

Or better yet – simply start living in the moment – wherever you might be in the moment – even if it’s on the subway – or doing the dirty dishes in your home.

Vow to be fully present.

I know what you’re thinking. Easier said than done, right?

Well, I’m here to help you to stop living in the past – with some practical tools to encourage you to break free from those clingy cobwebs of the past so you can enjoy the good stuff that’s right smack in front of you.

1. Get clear on why you’re clinging to the past.

3 Tools To Stop Living in the Past and Focus On A Happy Present
Ask yourself what this time in your life represents to you.

  • Does it represent something you miss? Do you feel that you will never be able to once agan enjoy that status, that attention, that high bar of achievement or fulfillment? Take some time to list some accomplishments you’ve made recently – so you remind yourself you’re strong, worthy and capable. Check out this article for 6 tips to boost your confidence.
  • Does this time from the past represent regret? Are you re-living what you did wrong – and trying to pull a “Groundhog Day” movie experience – where you play out what you could have done differently? Remember: You cannot change the past. But you can learn some really good life lessons from it – which then improves your present and your future. Check out this article for a tool to forgive your past mistakes.

2. Get clear on what you’re avoiding in the present and future.

Ask yourself if you are preferring the past – because there’s something about your present and/or future you don’t want to face.

  • Does living in the past keep you blessedly preoccupied – so you don’t have to face something in the present or future? Make a list of things you might be avoiding. Then make a list of how to better confront and deal with these things – so they’re less overwhelming and challenging.
  • Are you avoiding getting out of your comfort zone – because  “the pain of living in the past” is a better alternative than “the pain of uncertainty which the present and future bring”?  Remind yourself: The best things in life are at the exit ramp of your comfort zone. Plus, ponder this fact: Research says that 80% of what people are afraid of happening ….never actually happens! (I write about this more here – oh and here –  and also here )

3. Get clear on all the benefits of living happily in the present moment.

How to Stop Living in the Past and Enjoy a Happy Life in The Present
Take some time to appreciate what you have in the present. Plus figure out a do-able plan to move forward into the future.

  • Ask yourself what you presently appreciate about your life. The people, places, hobbies, and experiences, etc.  Start journaling –  and become aware of what I call“Invisible Blessings.” Each day write down 5 things you’re grateful about having in your life. Forced yourself to always write 5 new and different things. Eventually you will create a long list of invisible blessings. Get yourself excited about being fully present – enjoying these people and things. (Here’s an article on how to enjoy life after 50.)
  • Get out a calendar and create a step by step plan for moving forward to a scary goal you might be avoiding. Make sure your plan has small steps. For example, “do 15 minutes of X” – or “write 5 pages of Y” etc.. Studies show people are more likely to do a scary new habit if it’s made ridiculously simple, temptingly easy and painlessly quick to do.
  • Create a Pinterest Page which is filled up with images of all the beautiful aspects of the life you want to live! Practice spending time visualizing yourself living a life like this – so you become excited about your present and future. Here’s an article on 28 benefits to finding a partner later in life.)
  • Accept that there are some aspects of living in the present and future which are a bit scary – because you can’t control everything that happens. Make a list of what you know you can control. Try to focus only 20% on your fears (so you’re honest with yourself) and 80% on what you can control – brainstorming up solutions to problems and do-able action steps.
  • Develop a meditation practice – where you sit and breathe for 5 to 10 minutes in the morning. Learn how to master your thoughts – so you can master living mindfully in the present.

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Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.

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