Living in the Present & Loving Your Life

Most people live in the past or in the future, spending all their time focusing on what they don’t have or once had. Instead of embracing and relishing today, nothing is ever good enough, and they live in a cycle of overwhelm, misery, and paralyzing stuck-ness.

I worked with a client a couple of summers ago who seemed to have everything going for her – a flexible job, a degree, she was fun, gorgeous, and loved to move. The only problem was, she hated herself, constantly compared herself with other girls, and even though she exercised 3x per week with me and 3x more on her own, her body was just never lean enough, the scale never low enough.

Fast forward a year and we’re chatting on the phone and, again, she is unhappy with her weight. Trying to get her into a positive state of mind, I asked her to recall a time when she was at a size and weight that she liked.

Instantly she says, “Last summer I was my leanest and felt my best…”

“Interesting…,” I replied.

So now she is living in the past and the future… but not in the present.

I know underneath, it isn’t really about the weight. What she really wants is to feel good about herself, to enjoy life, to have fun, to have a meaningful healthy relationship, and to have direction in her life.

Yet because she dwells on the once hads, and don’t haves she constantly creates more of what she doesn’t want in her life. And because she doesn’t respect herself, she gives everyone else permission to not respect her also.

Here’s the thing…

What we dwell on multiplies. [click here to tweet this]

If we dwell on negative things, the energy feels heavy, depressive, and we will experience more negativity day-to-day. And the truth is that trying to create positive change from a heavy, depressive, negative place is like rowing up a waterfall or pushing a square boulder uphill… it just ain’t going to work, honey.

And even with our best efforts, we expend all of our energy and take one step forward and ten steps back because a negative and a positive always cancel each other out.

Negative thoughts + Positive Behaviors = ZERO Progress

 To create joy, vibrant health, and a balance in our lives, it’s essential to set our intention – our thoughts – first, because…

setting your intention focuses your attention.

This is exactly part of what Cheryl and I are going to share at our Fit & Financially Fierce event on October 1st. If you’re in the Boston-area, grab a friend and join us! It’s free! Click here to reserve your spot as space is limited! 

 

Let me illustrate with the legacy of a dear friend.

A month ago, Clint and I were riding home from a round of disc golf when his phone buzzed, “Carl Baker just died.”

Immediately, disbelief set in because, how could this amazing, loving, man die so suddenly? Just two weeks before, we enjoyed breakfast with him and his sweetheart of 40+ years while visiting in the south. If there was one thing about Carl – he never ever met a stranger. At the breakfast spot we picked, he probably knew 9 out of 10 people by first name and before we walked out, we all had our hands full of local jams and jellies.

He lived his life with joy, smiles, hugs, and love. carlclintteresa

I’ve never known a man so loved by children… children that weren’t even his kin. It was not uncommon to walk into church and see him holding a baby in one arm, a small child in another, and have two more hanging on his legs.

His life wasn’t a reflection of his circumstances. He’d had his share of rough times, times that would debilitate most folks for good, but he always got back up, returned to society, and kept on loving folks, hugging folks, and making everyone feel welcome.

Around 1,000 people visited the funeral home in two days…

At his funeral, my husband and another preacher read two things important to Carl. The first was a letter Carl wrote to himself listing three values he wanted to live by. The next was a card taped to the inside of his Bible that emphasized being the best man he could be, in spite of circumstances and what life may bring. He read these every day.

And his life reflected those values.

I share this story because it teaches so much about how we can live to enjoy the kind of life that Carl lived, one of joy, generosity, and love.

Carl set his intention in life – who he wanted to be – and his behavior followed suit. His intention set his attention to the behaviors he wished to express.

His legacy continues to speak volumes because, as Clint’s eulogy read, there is a Carl-sized hole in the hearts of everyone who knew him, and that’s okay.

Carl lived in the present. By focusing his attention every day for each specific day, he could live the life he wanted to live and enjoy every person in his life.

 

So instead of dwelling on the once hads and have nots, to create the life we love we need to focus on who we want to be every single day, not what we don’t want.

When we do this, interesting things will happen. We’ll…

love more & worry less

enjoy each moment & be thankful for our blessings

align our actions with our true priorities

experience our body transform naturally

Let’s learn to live like Carl! Below are some action steps to get you started.

1. Write down your top 3-5 values.

Who do you want to be in life? Is patience, generosity, kindness, presence, integrity, and/or enthusiasm most important to you? There are no wrong answers here, so throw out perfection. Instead, write down what values resonate most and put them in a place you will see every day – by your bedside, the door, on the backdrop of your phone or computer. Take 30 seconds each day to read your list and really feel what each value is like. What kinds of activities, interests, and conversations does this woman promote and get involved in?

2. Notice the energy of your activities.

Do you ever do something because someone else did it this way? Maybe it doesn’t feel exactly right to you, but it worked for them, so it must work for you too… This week, I want you to observe activities in your life that increase and decrease your joy. How do you feel before going to exercise, go to work, or attend a club? How do you feel afterwards? Make a mental note of this or write it in your journal. We’ll do more with this later (but it’s important!) 🙂

3. Every time you walk through a door, ask yourself, “How can I express my values?”

Instead of focusing on not focusing on the past or future, simply picture a door, you walking through it, and when you enter a room, asking yourself, “How can I express my values here?”

This will train your brain to automatically ask you this question when you walk through doors and immediately set you in a healthy frame of mind frequently throughout the day!

 

Was there ever a time in your life when you were unhappy with your weight, your car, your relationship, your job, and then, later on you realized how good you had it? What did you learn about that experience? Also, list your top three values in the comments section below. I cannot wait to read and respond to every one! 🙂

 

LIVE your adventure,

Gerilyn-Burnett-Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Changing who we are is easier when we are in flow with what works best for us, individually. Sometimes we have a hard time figuring that out on our own, as it should be, because we work best in community. If this is you, shoot me an email and share your biggest challenge.

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