There’s a lot to be said for living in the moment, but I want to challenge how we’re defining that concept for all of us, including myself. For many, this idea of living in the moment means separating past and future from where we’re at right now and simply being present.
My fear is this – I feel like we’ve taken this “living in the moment” concept and oversimplified it. It’s become synonymous with letting go of yesterday or tomorrow and existing 100% in the here and now. The problem I see is this: Yesterday provides us with valuable lessons, and the decisions we make today in the moment create ripples that impact our tomorrows. They’re all connected.
The other piece of this is that living in the moment is not a once-and-done idea. Each day is made up of hundreds of moments and filled with micro decision-making. I find my days filled with “do I go left or right?” choices, and each choice impacts the next on some small level. We don’t live in THE moment… we live in the MOMENTS.
How I live in my moments matters. When I’m in the car talking with my kids or sharing a dinner with Cristina, I need to be present and checked in. That’s something we can all agree on, and you have similar moments in your own life. Where I’m going with this is that living in the moments is an intentional act that we need to think through, not float through.
Here are five ways I see the living in the moments playing out in my own life…
Choosing What Moments Matter
First, we have to see each moment for what it is and be intentional about choosing which moments really matter. Here’s an example. My fourteen-year-old twins are doing virtual school from our home, and I am working from the house as well. Our days are filled with criss-cross interactions, and even in the busy-ness, we make an effort to connect throughout our days. That said, not every one of those intersections matters.
Walk with me here. I’m not saying my kids don’t matter – in fact, I’m saying the opposite. There are times where if I dive into a moment with my kids that my work will slip, my goals will suffer, and worst of all, I’ll have to play catch up later and miss even more important moments later in the day. I understand that, so as we’re connecting with each other throughout the day, I make micro-choices about which “in the moment” connections are valuable and which ones will hijack me later and keep me from enjoying more impactful, deeper moments. It all comes down to awareness and balance.
Seeing Each Moment’s Importance
As we’re walking through our days and encounter these moments that we’ve defined as valuable, it’s essential to understand the real importance of those moments. I’ll use my kids as an example again. As we connect throughout the day, I can tell when there are times that they need me to sit and listen. Within 2-3 seconds of starting a conversation with them, I’m able to gauge pretty accurately if they’re in a good place or they need some dad-time. In those moments where a little dad-time is required, or they need a conversation to ask a question or test their intuition about something, I’m able to shut down and be present for them. Our ability to read and understand the importance of the moments we’re in is critical.
Decision-Making “In The Moment”
Making decisions in the moments, it can be easy to make our choices more impulsively. This is where having a solid understanding of your core values and your mission becomes so foundational. When you understand your purpose in life clearly, you approach decision-making from a much more grounded place. That foundation removes some of that impulsiveness and puts you back in a place where decisions made in the moments stay aligned with who you are and what really matters to you.
Moments and Our Goals
When we set our goals, we’re focused on our future and where we want to go. Aligning our life in the moments with the destination we’re journeying toward is essential. If our goals and our moments aren’t aligned, they can start to compete with one another, or worse, our moments can pull us away from where we want to end up. When we have clarity on our goals and the direction we want to head, then choosing which moments matter and making decisions in the moment is that much easier.
Once again, let me use my kids as an example. One of my goals is to train and prepare them for independence. Keeping this goal in mind and having a clear understanding of what achieving it means for them and me, I can look at any moment and know quickly if the two are aligned. This makes living in the moments so much easier – when I’m all-in in the moment, I know it’s tied to my purpose. That confidence makes letting everything else go to be present feel good.
Relaxing in the Moments
I don’t want you to read this and see life in the moments as work. Living in the present allows us to take time to come down, relax, and just be. It provides us with opportunities to get quiet with ourselves and go deeper with family and friends. Time spent in the moment can be where we connect with our faith and values on a deeper level. Finding joy in this day, and value in all the moments it gives us, is a gift.
Living life in the moments is essential to our well-being. It’s good for us, strengthens our relationships, and helps us achieve our goals. It’s also an exercise that requires us to be intentional, focused on our values and ambitions, and aware of our impulsive tendencies. With that in mind, make the most of all your moments today, and be present!
I know this can be challenging… From living in the moments to achieving your goals and chasing your purpose, my goal is to share some simple insights that help you go deep in life where it matters most. Sound valuable? Subscribe here!