Focusing on the present is a handy way to get unstuck. Yet, it’s largely overlooked in today’s busy, noisy, and complex world. There is very little value placed on stillness and focus. Instead, we celebrate, worship really, the state of perpetual busyness. As a result, we continually find ourselves overstretched, over-stressed, over-committed, and “stuck.” We’re moving faster and faster and getting nowhere quicker than ever. The thought of a hamster wheel comes to mind. If that’s you, you might feel:
Unable to move forward
I know. I know. There’s nothing sexy about “living in the present moment.” Despite all the recent press, focusing on the present seems boring. Sometimes it’s boring and mundane, but they will get us the results we’re looking for.
Today, I will show how 3 (maybe) evident and simple strategies can be your gateway to getting unstuck by focusing on the present.
1. Get Unstuck by Letting Go of The Past
Of course, this is the first strategy, but how many people do you know that conquer this? I know, not many, and here’s why. Most people think “letting go of the past” means forgetting about the past. Not only is that virtually impossible, but it’s highly unrealistic. Here’s what I mean by letting go of the past:
Stop bellyaching about the past or over-glorifying it. These two extremes are deadly and will cause you to get stuck every time.
Instead, try these two approaches to get unstuck from the past:
Resolve the Past:
If you’ve been a trauma victim or deep wounding, you may be unable to do this alone. If that’s you, you might consider professional help to resolve your past events so that you can get unstuck and enjoy your life.
If your past isn’t quite as devastating, you can face it once and for all. Accept it, learn from it, and stop living in it.
On the other hand, if the “glory days” seem to be a recurrent theme of your conversation, nine times out 10, you subconsciously think your best days are behind you. This overindulgence is a ticking time bomb. The more you glorify it, the more stuck your get. Your present moments pass you by, and you might not even realize what’s happening.
Reflect on the Past:
A healthier approach to levering the past to get unstuck is to reflect on the past. Reflecting on the past is a lighter version of dwelling on the past. Here is where you might think about the past in a lighthearted way. These thoughts are fleeting and don’t keep you stuck and frozen. These thoughts don’t dominate you and keep you stuck, unable to move forward.
2. Stop Obsessing About the Future:
If the past can’t get you, overly worrying, dreading, over-thinking, “planning,” and downright obsessing about the future will surely get you stuck. Obsessing the future can lead to depression and anxiety even quicker than dwelling on the past.
“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.” — Charles Spurgeon.
You’re paying for tomorrow at the expense of today. The reason why this is so lethal is because tomorrow (the way you’re envisioning it) may never come. By focusing on the present, you can take action that may change your tomorrow instead. As a result, by repeating this strategy daily, you can be better tomorrow.
Worrying robs us of our creativity and the energy to move forward. Instead of taking action, we take a nap…remaining stuck.
Here are three quick ways to defeat worrying about the future:
- Have faith: Life is made up of different seasons, and seasons change. It’s not going to be winter forever. Spring is coming. You have to have faith that things will improve and change. Focus on the present.
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” — Matthew 6:34
- Shift your attention: Downgrade your uber focus on the negative thoughts overwhelming you and distract yourself with a present focus. That’s right, focus on something in the present that brings you joy and that you can control. Be deliberate. You will start building muscle memory. When those worrisome thoughts come, you can begin to put them in their place deliberately.
- Please make a list: This may seem a little woo, but it isn’t. There’s science to back this one up. List all the possible reasons “why” something you are worried about may never happen. This exercises a different part of the brain. It would be best if you made a conscious effort to shift your thoughts from problem to solution. Just like you rationalized your fears, you can explain why what you’re worried about might never happen. You should start to feel better right away.
3. Invest Quality Time and Effort In Finding Your Purpose:
Exploring your purpose involves reflecting and resolving your past and envisioning your future. However, purposeful use of your history and lot keeps you grounded in the present. Finding your purpose can be a driving force that causes you to examine “Why” you are here and what you are to do. Who are you meant to serve? What gives you true meaning? What are you passionate about about, etc.?
This experimental journey grounds you in the present yet gets you unstuck by causing you to try new things, levering past experiences while creating a future that makes sense to you.
The truth is: No one is immune to getting stuck at some point in this journey toward clarity. The key is to recognize it for what it is and get the help you need to finally move forward and curate the life of your dreams or maybe find the strength to hit the gym today initially. 🙂
I believe in you!