Let's Be More Present This Year
We are often pulled in a million different directions. We are distracted by our technology and constantly tuned in to the 24/7 news cycle. At times, we have so much information, we cannot even decide where to grab a coffee.
Often, because we’re constantly surrounded by other people’s best version of themselves represented on social media, we think that we have to be the best as well. We have to go on the best vacations, eat at the best restaurants and date the one.
I recently moved to the West Coast, and decided to reevaluate all that I believed to be true. I know, that sounds like a huge undertaking. But for someone like me—a wellness blogger and self-dubbed “inspiration seeker” — I knew that at this new time in my life gave me an opportunity to make changes. And, after some deep reflection I realized that my biggest source of stress was based on my ability to stay present.
So, how do we thoughtfully stay present as we head into a new year, full of new opportunities?
1. Develop reflection rituals
In order to understand how to be present in our everyday, we need to first understand what we really want. Because staying present happens when you start to listen to your gut.
Getting in tune with your goals & internal voice takes practice. You can try “exercising your mind” through a variety of reflection tools such as meditation, journaling, or even just spending time alone. Be consistent in these exercises—you often don’t see the results of them until they become daily habits.
2. Get rid of your to-do lists
Literally. Throw away your lists and plans.
Being present means that you are actually living in the moment—not pretending to via Instagram. So, let yourself just do things for fun. Be spontaneous and don’t stress about the time you’ve spent lounging at a coffee shop. Instead, soak up all the feelings.
For a planner like me, this was an extremely difficult mindset to break. I used to live off of to-do lists (and sometimes still do!). But, when I committed to being present, I allowed myself to go with the flow. I didn’t worry about all the work I had to do while enjoying a Sunday night dinner. Whatever I was doing, I was fully in it—not thinking about the future.
3. Take some time to disconnect each day
For me, it’s important to take time off of technology and get back to the basics. I find that when I’m using technology, future thoughts begin to creep in.
So, I disconnect.
In the beginning it’s difficult to do, especially because technology evades all parts of our lives. But, try setting a timer for yourself and doing something for you sans technology. This could be during your reflection time, or while ridding yourself of to-do lists. But, no matter if it’s 5 minutes or 50, be sure to take some time to disconnect each day.
4. Challenge yourself to make decisions sans internet
Something I’ve been doing recently is forcing myself to make decisions without researching all the best options beforehand. It sounds like a ridiculous goal, but in our world where Yelp and Foursquare (and Google, frankly) exist—we always want to know all the information before committing to a decision.
You can start small. Maybe you let yourself randomly happen upon a new coffee shop without reading its reviews first. Or maybe you try to get somewhere without looking at Google Maps first. Allowing yourself to be fully immersed in the moment—even if you end up getting lost, or having a bad cup of coffee—you are truly living.
5. Go with your gut
Being truly present means that you are able to tune into that little internal voice, and just do. You don’t need to worry about all that others around you are doing. You just know that whatever you decide to do is the best option for you. No if’s, ands, or Google searches.
It takes practice, and constant reminders but Staying Present in our information-filled, comparison-apt world is possible. You just need to start with listening to your gut.
About The Author
Katina Mountanos is the founder and creator of the blog On Adulting. She has spent her early 20s tackling Life's Big Questions and inspiring other millennials to navigate adulthood in a mindful & happy way. She has been featured in Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and other publications. You can find her exploring near her new home in the Bay Area, finding a way to get a sweat session into her daily routine, or on Instagram at @onadulting.