How To Change Your Life In The Moment

How To Change Your Life In The MomentWhat if every day of the rest of your life was just like yesterday?  How would you feel if nothing ever changed?

How you do one thing is how you do everything.

Almost everything you do all day is a habit.  Waking up, getting dressed, eating, moving, how you treat people, work and relax.  Your thoughts and emotions follow habits as well.  And there’s an underlying theme to it all because how you do one thing is how you do everything.

Are you carrying around a few extra pounds while you stress about how to make others happy and have a hard time saying no?  These all have the same underlying theme.

Are you perpetually late, find it hard to meet deadlines and have trouble maintaining positive relationships?  Again, there’s a common theme.

  • Do you want your life to be different?  Do you want to be happier?
  • What would you have to do differently today than you did yesterday?
  • What habits and core beliefs would you have to change?
  • Who would you have to become?

If you don’t focus on answering these questions and taking action on your answers today, you’ll find yourself at the end of your life wondering where the time went and why nothing ever changed.

Infuse Happiness Into Your Habits

As you move through the habits of your day, what’s running through your mind?  How are you holding your body?  How do you feel?

As you get dressed, are you getting discouraged because you haven’t been able to drop the weight you wanted to lose?  Or are you grateful for having a selection of clothes to choose from?

As you eat, are you mindlessly consuming what’s in your hand while on the run, reading or thinking about the million other things you have to do?  Or are you calmly focusing on the smells, textures and tastes of what you’re eating while doing nothing else?

When you listen to others speaking, are you half-heartedly listening while trying to think of your next response in order to get your point across?  Or are you listening with a clear mind in order to hear the essence of what the other person is trying to communicate?

By being present in the moment more often, noticing and being grateful for all the wonderful little things in your life now, it’s possible to bring more happiness into your daily habits.

If you catch yourself judging yourself or others, notice it and change your thought to something positive.

When you feel stress building in your body and mind, notice it and realize that everything is just fine in the present moment.  Stress is simply the anticipation of something bad happening in the future that has a very small chance of actually happening.  [Tweet this]

Infusing Mindfulness Into Your Day

Mindfulness is slowing down to notice things without judging them.

There’s no “good” or “bad.”  You simply choose whether you do or don’t want what you noticed in your life.  Then act on that choice.

You can interpret mindful living as “intentional living.”  When you realize that everything in your life is your choice and you take responsibility for your own choices, life becomes much happier.

Thinking that you have to take in everything and try to filter out the stuff you don’t want in your life can be exhausting.  Instead, start from a clean slate and only allow into your life the people, things and experiences that feed your soul.  Be very intentional about what you allow into your life.

As you move through your day and experience negative people or hear some kind of bad news, ask yourself if you want that in your life.  How can it benefit you?  If people and experiences don’t support your core values and definition of happiness, let them fall away.

Pretend like you and everyone else lives in unique little bubbles (actually, you don’t have to pretend because we all do).  If you encounter something or someone that you don’t want in your bubble, imagine it bouncing off and heading in another direction while you stay happy inside.

Sometimes making these choices can upset other people.  To that I answer, “So what?”  Why is it important to try to make anyone else happy (as if it were even possible)?

Your job is to make you happy.  Their job is to make them happy.

Mindfully, thoughtfully, intentionally choose what you allow into your bubble and let everything else float away.

Use Your Gifts to Increase Your Happiness

Our lives are short.  We all have unique gifts to share with the world.

What are your gifts?  How can you share them in big or small ways every day for the rest of your life?

There’s tons of scientific evidence that supports the concept that illnesses, usually chronic ones, develop and persist when you bury and deny your gifts for too long.

If you have no idea what your gifts are, mindfully notice what brings you joy, what gets you excited and find ways to do those things more often.  Find ways to infuse what you’re already doing with things you enjoy.

As you go through your day, notice the little choices you make all day, every day.  Are your choices based on your happiness, the happiness of others or both?

Challenge yourself to make more choices that increase the happiness of both you and others.  Always doing things for others is well intentioned but, without taking time for yourself, can lead to resentment and exhaustion.

If you’re wallowing in negative emotions, notice that and find ways to change your thoughts instead of smothering them in food, alcohol, work, drugs, shopping or other counter-productive habits.  Thinking about how to help others can be very powerful.

The more you bury those negative emotions, the bigger they return and the more self-destructive the compensating habits become.  Get professional help if you need to.

A Daily Practice

Throughout your day, check in.  Ask yourself how happy you are on a scale of 1 (not happy) to 5 (very happy).  Ask yourself what you could do to move up one number.  Then do that thing.  Not later, not tomorrow – in the moment you think of it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Smile for 30 seconds
  • Take 10 deep breaths
  • Buy or pick yourself a flower
  • Give someone a flower
  • Listen to some inspiring music
  • Give a stranger a heartfelt compliment
  • Hug someone and mean it
  • Paint, draw, write, sing – express yourself
  • Write in your journal
  • Call, email or text a friend to let them know you’re thinking about them
  • Eat something small and decadent and savor every moment of it
  • Excuse yourself from a negative or gossipy conversation
  • Breathe deeply while you think of three things you’re grateful for
  • Take a walk, move your body
  • Take a nap
  • Smile at the next three people you see
  • Decide to be happier

Set a timer on your watch, phone or computer or leave yourself notes where you’ll find them often to remind you to check in.

The more often you do this, the more it will become a habit.  Eventually, you won’t need the reminders.  Your subconscious will make the happy/not happy choice for you and guide your actions.

Your level of happiness is completely up to you.  You can choose to see everything as “not enough” and decide that you can’t be happy. Or you can choose to see everything as “perfect as it is” and decide that you can be happy, no matter what.

What are you choosing now?

 

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33 Responses to How To Change Your Life In The Moment

    Ann
    Commented:  03/09/2014 at 8:37 am

    I definitely needed to read this this morning — thank you!

    Reply
    David Stevens
    Commented:  03/09/2014 at 4:46 pm

    Hi Paige,
    This spoke to me and I really need to absorb this more … bookmarked!
    Thank You.

    Be good to yourself
    David
    David Stevens recently posted..How to Create your best Mid life with these 5 ‘must haves’My Profile

    Reply
    Jeffrey Fischer
    Commented:  03/09/2014 at 6:02 pm

    Paige, You have hit it out of the ballpark again. Who said we have to unhappy? There seems to be a lot of people on social media complaining about life and posting pictures with frowns. Life was meant to be lived to the fullest and I love your 15 points.

    I am going to forward this column (with your permission of course) to some people who are “introverts” and have difficulty in “networking.” It is OK to be an introvert. You will be a better networker and manager than the sales guy who is totally extroverted and not paying attention to details that glad hands everyone but has few real friends.

    Happy people are less angry. Less anger means less violence. Less violence means our kids and grandkids have a better life. A better life creates a better generation to carry on great habits that bring peace into the world.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/09/2014 at 6:43 pm

      After spending much of life being relatively unhappy, finding faults in just about everything, I got pretty tired of it and realized that being happy feels great. It took a while to change many ingrained habits of unhappy thinking but mindfulness helped me through it.

      I would love it if you forwarded this article to your networking introverts. Also, please forward them an article I wrote specifically on how I, a major introvert, went from scared to death of networking to loving every minute of it. http://www.simplemindfulness.com/2011/04/08/win-the-networking-game/

      I completely agree with you that introverts make better sales people. For us, it’s not about the sale. It’s about connecting with others and finding ways to help.

      Yes, happy people and people who can unconditionally love themselves all make the world a much better place for us and our future generations.

      Many blessings to you Jeffrey!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How to Mindfully Boost Your Self-ConfidenceMy Profile

      Reply
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  2. Glori Surban
    Commented:  03/09/2014 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Paige! It’s been a while! :)

    Love, love, love this post! Reminded me of the quote: “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” by Charlie Gilkey.

    And it’s so true. Happiness can be a habit if we choose it. And right now, it’s the one I’m choosing! :)
    Glori Surban recently posted..(Kindle) S.M.A.R.T. Goals Made Simple – 10 Steps to Master Your Personal and Career GoalsMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/10/2014 at 5:49 pm

      Great to see you again Glori! Yes, it’s been a while.

      I love that quote from Charlie! It’s brings to light the power of making subtle changes in our days. We think we have to make big, sweeping changes in order for things to change in our lives. Actually, it’s those tiny baby steps that make the biggest lasting changes.

      Big hugs to you Glori!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..4 Simple Questions That Can Make You Rich and HappyMy Profile

      Reply
    Jeremy
    Commented:  03/10/2014 at 12:44 am

    “How you do one thing is how you do everything.” ==> Good attitude to adopt. From personal experience, when I cultivate small good habits, it actually rubs off on other areas of my life. So I put in effort in even the smallest things that don’t necessarily bring me closer to my main goals.
    Jeremy recently posted..The Cost Of Leadership Is Self-InterestMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/10/2014 at 5:52 pm

      It sounds like you’re living the message Jeremy. Yes, it’s definitely true that small changes in one area of your life rub off in other areas. Every baby step adds up until one day you look back on your life and see how far you’ve come. A big congratulations to you!!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Pick Your Yoga PracticeMy Profile

      Reply
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  4. Martine Joseph
    Commented:  03/10/2014 at 7:08 am

    Paige, I love how you explore happiness and life so comprehensively here! Serving others gives me a wonderful feeling. I do this by blogging and speaking … Thanks for affirming that we can be intentional about the people and experiences we want in our life. I find this so important, and I completely forgive myself for being selective! It’s important to respect myself by using energy wisely.
    Martine Joseph recently posted..Play and Thrive: 7 Ways to Choose JoyMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/10/2014 at 5:57 pm

      There’s nothing to forgive yourself for, Martine. The more you focus your efforts on a select group of people, the more impact you can make on those people and the happier you all are. When you try to be everything to everyone, you fail because it’s impossible (this is especially true in business).

      In your comment, I can see that you respect yourself in all areas of your life – something that more of us need to learn to adopt to open the door to more happiness. Many blessings to you!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..The Art of Helping Others (and How to Avoid Resentment)My Profile

      Reply
    Dennis Fahey
    Commented:  03/10/2014 at 7:28 am

    Thought-provoking post. I wonder though, that the pursuit of achievement is congruent with mindfulness and the eschewing of judgment. Isn’t aiming for achievement grounded in a judgment that “over there” is better than “here?” I really struggle with this personally.

    Would be interested to know about how you apply all of this in the world of work, where goals and objectives are, seemingly, inescapable.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/10/2014 at 6:13 pm

      Dennis, I’ve grappled with the same seeming dichotomy for quite some time. I’ve researched the concept of “no goals” after living most of my life focused on the achievement of goals.

      What I’ve learned is that everything you do must be grounded in your core values. Otherwise you’re judging everything in comparison to how you think others may perceive you. Get very clear on your top three to five values and base all of your choices on whether or not they support those values. If they don’t, why are you going after them?

      A key aspect of non-judgment is acceptance – accepting everything and everyone just the way they are right now. Nothing and no one has to change in order for you to be happy because your happiness is your choice. I’ve known miserable millionaires and joyfully happy homeless people. You choose how you see and interpret everything in your life.

      The “pursuit of achievement” is based on the belief that things in the present moment aren’t enough. That’s a corrosive belief that just about all of us have grown up with and I’ve written extensively about it. It’s not true.

      I have plenty of things that I want to accomplish but, at the same time, I’m happy with everything just as it is. I work to accomplish things because they’re in alignment with my values, I’m helping others and learning in the process. I’m not attached to (expecting) a single perfect outcome. I’m open to where the journey leads me. This significantly reduces the likelihood of me being upset about not achieving a certain goal/outcome.

      Instead of focusing on the goal/outcome, focus on the process and the person you’re becoming through your experiences.

      I consult with business owners and start-up’s. So many of them are chasing a carrot they didn’t consciously choose. I work with them to get them back to their core values and why they’re doing what they’re doing. From there they can make much more effective choices that support their values and happiness in the short and long term.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Finding Balance Amidst the ChaosMy Profile

      Reply
    Elle
    Commented:  03/10/2014 at 7:31 am

    Awareness is so key Paige. You put this across so beautifully. Watching where my thoughts are is key for me…especially since I choose to direct them as much as possible towards the lovely things in life, the desires I’m choosing to experience. It’s a much happier vibration to live in and of course we know where that leads don’t we?

    Great post…thank you for the reminder.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/10/2014 at 6:16 pm

      Elle,
      You are a master of consciously choosing what you focus on. You always inspire me.

      When we’re aware of the choices we’re making, we’re suddenly free to make different choices. It’s actually a choice to be a prisoner or victim of our own choices – no one can do that to us.

      Big hugs to you Elle!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..How To Release Yourself from Your PastMy Profile

      Reply
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  6. Victor
    Commented:  03/10/2014 at 4:25 pm

    Hey Paige,

    I really appreciate your suggestions and ideas for being mindful. My favorite on your list is calling or emailing your friends. That’s definitely a favorite of mine and so enjoyable too. This was a well done piece, and I think it has applicability for both novices and “experts” the same! Thanks for sharing your wisdom today. I appreciate it.

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/10/2014 at 6:20 pm

      Thank you so much Victor! Yes, telling friends that you’re thinking of them can be so powerful because few people expect it. I love that you do that!

      You’ve also touched on an underlying theme of personal development that always seems to surprise me: We’re both novices and experts at the same time. Just when I think I’ve completely learned a lesson in a certain area, I realize that there are infinite layers to it that I haven’t yet mastered. There’s always more to learn. I love that! And I love learning from you too!
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Mindfulness In a Bad RelationshipMy Profile

      Reply
    Robert
    Commented:  03/17/2014 at 11:33 am

    Amazing! I absolutely love your “Daily Practice” tips and ideas – they are simple, relatively easy to do and they don’t take much time.

    Fantastic post – thanks a lot.
    Robert recently posted..How To Bend Your RealityMy Profile

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  03/17/2014 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks Robert! Yes, it’s pretty easy to bring more happiness into your life and the lives of others. We just have to remember to do it. Like any practice, it’s hard to remember to do initially until it becomes a habit. I quite enjoy developing my happiness habit.
      Paige Burkes recently posted..Creating a New Life By ChoosingMy Profile

      Reply
    Gary
    Commented:  03/18/2014 at 3:32 am

    Great to have a reminder to live life, a subject close to my heart,
    I was talking to my partner this morning and asked her what the purpose of life was
    She replied, to enjoy everyday as best you can :-)
    Perfect answer,
    Your article is the best advice for anyone, and everyone needs a reminder now and again.

    We need to change the hardship of life, its difficulties, hardships and stresses and change it to an enjoyable life.
    Happy days
    Namaste

    Reply
    Leslie
    Commented:  03/18/2014 at 7:21 am

    Thanks for this very nice contribution and valuable information.
    Using the Law of Attraction may help you further, to achieve
    your heart’s desire.
    Happiness also is a mental condition.

    Reply
    joe
    Commented:  04/13/2014 at 5:32 am

    I am currently starting over again and rebuilding my life. I don’t know how to change my life yet, I am scared to be honest with you and not having any friends still doesn’t make it any easier. (If you want to read about how it is going, I am writing a blog about it at http://rebuildingat30.blogspot.com )

    Reply
      Paige Burkes
      Commented:  04/14/2014 at 3:05 pm

      Joe,
      Change is scary but it’s the only constant in life. You’re only 30. Your life hasn’t really begun yet. I left a corporate job in downtown Boston when I was 29 due to burnout. I had no idea what to do next so I followed by intuition which led me on all sorts of adventures that have shaped my life. I took two years off, experimenting with life and it was some of the best time in my life (I’m now 46).

      My first bit of advice would be to stop dwelling on all that you don’t have and focus on being grateful for what you do have. Think about ways you can help other people.

      Having a job certainly isn’t the only way to make money. Check out this post on how to create a new career for yourself and meet lots of people along the way: http://www.simplemindfulness.com/fourhour. Meetup.com is always a great resource to find like-minded people.

      Check out the communities of people at LiveYourLegend.net and their Facebook groups. Join their Connect With Anyone program and get involved.

      The journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. You don’t have to see the end of your route (no one can). What one small baby step will you take today? Know that there’s no such thing as failure. Everything in life is an experiment to learn from. What are you learning today?
      Paige Burkes recently posted..The Life OrganizerMy Profile

      Reply
    otsile samuel
    Commented:  05/03/2014 at 2:46 am

    this are some very good tips.i am starting to make them mi habit practicing them step by step. I am the kind of person who beats myself up when I fail or cant do something and definitely lik to procrastinate. also to shy to stand 4 my self.

    Reply
    Wan
    Commented:  05/06/2014 at 3:04 am

    “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”
    I don’t really understand the phrase but after some thought, I might be getting it. I sometimes feel complacent because I think that I can slack off doing one thing and focus on doing another. But that’s probably me being not mindful of what I’m doing every day. I realized that it’s not good for me to do that as it shows how I don’t cherish every moments I experience in life.

    Thanks for the reminder, Paige.

    Reply
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  8. Paige Burkes
    Commented:  03/28/2014 at 10:52 am

    That’s exactly it Jodi! The regular practice of small steps will change your life and the lives of those around you.
    Paige Burkes recently posted..The Art of Helping Others (and How to Avoid Resentment)My Profile

    Reply

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