Many individuals are living their lives on autopilot, going from place to place, but not enjoying the ride. We get so caught up in the details of life that we don’t really stop long enough to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Going from work, to your blackberry, to your cell phone and back again, becomes a bad habit that will rob you of being in the moment. Getting back to the basics is critical if you want to live a rich and prosperous life. Even some of the busiest people know the value of stopping every now and then in order to refuel and re-evaluate how their life is going. Otherwise, you become a hamster in a cage, running endlessly around the wheel, but getting nowhere. Here are some tips to focus on:
A. Awake and engaged
Many people go through life asleep, not really awake and aware of what is going on. They may go through the motions, but they are not fully present and engaged in the daily activities and joys. The first step in living a rich life is to become more engaged in your life. Put away the cell phone, the blackberry, the laptop or television. Remind yourself to be more aware during times that you should be enjoying the moment for what it is. Just the act of being more aware will act as a catalyst to ground you and open your eyes.
An exercise for being more aware and awake in your life is to set aside 30 minutes a day to be fully present in whatever you are doing. If you are washing dishes, try thinking about nothing else other than the feel of the water and the sound of dishes. If you are watching a soccer game, really be involved in the game. Watch the players, talk with the kids, be aware of the weather. Get sticky notes and write a statement. Be in the moment. Put these notes everywhere in your home, in your car, on your computer. This will act as a visual reminder to focus on what you are doing right then, not thinking about the million other things you need or want to get done.
B. Be true to your values
Your values will guide you and act as a compass in your life. What you value will keep you grounded on what really matters. It is when we get so caught up in the fast pace and craziness of life’s details, that we get further from our truths. When you disengage from your values, you ultimately end up dissatisfied and unfulfilled. Take some time to clarify for yourself what you value, above all else. Then, commit to only engaging in activities that honor these values.
Get out a piece of paper and write down everything you value in life……family, freedom, creativity, travel, health, spontaneity, children, and so on. Now, narrow this list to your Top 5 values. This is what you are saying is more important to you than anything else. Without these things, your life has little meaning. Now, take a step back and look at how you are living your life. Are the commitments you make, honoring these values? If you value your health, are you living a healthy and active lifestyle? This activity will be a wake-up call to the changes that need to be made.
C. Create a social/support group
Being part of a strong social/support group will dramatically impact your ability to face life’s challenges. Taking the time to nurture this group of individuals will greatly improve your satisfaction in life. Friends will make your celebrations more meaningful and they will get you through the difficult times with comfort. If you do not make the time to nurture your friendships, over time, you will feel lost and alone.
Do you feel supported and surrounded by good friends? Do you make an effort to nurture these relationships? What simple steps can you take to make these people more of a priority in your life? Can you commit to calling a couple friends every week to touch base? Can you pencil in a lunch or coffee once a week? Can you schedule a get-away once a year? Jot down ideas, and then, begin to implement them.
Applying these tips can make a world of difference in how much richer you experience life.