The One Reason Why You Should LIVE Instead of Worrying About Tomorrow

 

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We are, at least in the modern society, hard-wired to worry. We want security, and minimize risks, and make sure that we don’t end up in trouble. We want to eliminate problems. We want to eliminate unhappiness. We want safety – in every sense of the word. None of that is wrong…as long as it doesn’t prevent  you from actually living, from making the best of your life, and your potential. As long as it doesn’t stop you from going after your dreams.

Because it doesn’t matter how many precautions you take, how softly you tread on the carpet of life, there is one single truth that can still disrupt your life in ways you never even imagined. And that single truth is this:

Life is uncertain

Well, duh! It’s not exactly news. We all know it. But how many people actually live their life consciously aware of that knowledge? 

As an example, here’s a story I learned recently. I was waiting in my gym for a class to start. But there was another class going on in the studio, so we were just hanging around outside the door, including the instructor. He was talking to a woman who clearly attends his classes regularly, and overhearing that conversation I learned that few months ago he had a heart attack. 

Now this is a guy in his thirties (probably early thirties, though I don’t know for sure), very fit and healthy. He has a desk job, and moonlights as a fitness instructor because he loves it. There was no “real” reason for him to have a heart attack. He still doesn’t know why it happened. 

Generally, it’s the overweight people, unhealthy people, people with high cholesterol etc. who are warned about the risk of heart attack. This guy was never warned, because by all accounts, he wasn’t at the risk. He is no longer allowed to run outside, because now that he had one heart attack he could have another. He can return to his fitness activities, but he can no longer push himself beyond a certain point because there is the risk of arrhythmia. 

It was this conversation that got me thinking about uncertainty. But there are a lot more examples, always at the ready. Sudden illnesses, accidents, wars…so many things beyond our control that have the power to change our lives. Ultimately, there are no guarantees in life. Yes, of course we want some contingencies and plan for obvious disasters, but don’t let safeguarding the future distract you from your today. Because today might be all you have left. 

This isn’t news. We are all aware of our mortality, but most people don’t think about it. That’s part of our natural make-up. If we spent too much time thinking about inevitability of death, perhaps we wouldn’t get out of bed. I’m not encouraging morbidity. I’m encouraging you to make the best of your time on earth – however long it may be. Think of it like a vacation – you go to a new country, you’ve got two weeks, you want to see and do everything possible. Life’s a vacation, without a specific deadline. So enjoy. Live. See and do everything you want. Reach for your dreams. Above all…BE ALIVE! 

 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

What is the one thing that you would love to do but you keep putting it off for one day? Write about that – and figure out why are you not doing it now.

 

Journaling for Journaling’s Sake

 

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I write a lot about benefits of journaling, and how it can help you in various areas of your life. But let’s not forget that journaling is also good for its own sake. 

When you start writing, scribbling without an agenda, things happen. Sometimes, you may feel the catharsis of getting your feelings out. Sometimes, you might get a major a-ha moment, a revelation that solves the problem you’ve been brooding about. At other times, it may give you more self-awareness, or let you explore depths of your heart. Journaling can help your career, your relationships, and just about any other area of your life. You can do this consciously (which is what we mostly do in Kaizen Journaling), but some of this can also happen organically as you journal without a specific goal in mind.

There are also other unexpected benefits of journaling without a purpose. First, it’s the joy of doing it for its own sake. Just write. Enjoy the process. Let your mind wander where it will. Let your hand guide you. Don’t even think about an agenda. Just explore. 

Second, it’s about establishing the habit. When you journal simply because you want to journal, rather than because you are hoping to get something specific out of it, you can create a habit for the sake of experience. 

And finally, journaling for the sake of it, just for the joy of it, may bring peace, as it’s a form of meditation. 

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Pick up your pen, and just journal. Enjoy the process. Approach it without agenda. 

 

6 Ways to Use Journaling for Mapping Your Goal Achievement Strategies

 

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Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.

Jack Canfield

 

You’ve your goals. You wrote them down. Congratulations. You are already ahead of more than half the people on this planet. But now that you have them, what are you going to do about increasing your chances of achieving them? Your journal can help you. You can use your journal to map out strategies to achieve your goals.

Enthusiam and Positive Attitude

Keep an eye on your attitude. Write positive affirmations and quotes in your journal for times when you are not feeling great about yourself. Record your success. Write about your motivations behind achieving your particular goals. Focus on the things you can do – not the things you can’t do. Work on your attitude, and your path to success will be become much more pleasant, even if it doesn’t get easier.

Congruency between all of your goals

If your goals are inherently conflicting, then you are in trouble. For example, you can’t have two goals like this: be super healthy and fit AND be the world’s top Pizza Eating champion. Review your goals. Do they make sense for the person you are, and the person you want to be? If your goals inherently conflicting, dig deeper. They are unlikely to be the two things you absolutely want, and more likely to be something you feel you should do because our core values, things that true matter to us, are rarely in conflict with each other.

Plan Your Actions

 

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.

Pablo Picasso

 

You have goals, but do you have a plan to achieve them? If not, create one. It can be as elaborate as you like, or as simple as you like. A plan doesn’t have to be anything more than a break-down of your goals into mini-steps. These mini-steps need to be SMART. You need to be as specific as possible, ideally have a deadline. Record these mini-steps in your journal, and record your progress on them.

Explore your problems, confusion, roads taken/not taken, failures

If you have any goal worth achieving, you are going to be faced with unexpected problems, fears, confusion – and just all around obstacles. It’s just the way life works. Don’t worry about it. Accept it as a part of the process. You will also fail, probably multiple times. Treat failure as just a part of your journey, not the end of it. One of the best ways to not lose perspective when you are faced with obstacles or failure is to explore it in your journal. Write about it. What are the facts? How do you feel about it? What can you learn from it? How can you apply that lesson? How can you ensure that you don’t repeat the mistakes you made once?

Take responsibility but Dump the Guilt

You, and you alone, are responsible for your life. Yes, other people, luck/fate, external circumstances may have an impact on you, but you have control over how you react to it. It’s not easy. Nor are you expected to respond with perfect calm and composure in the face of all problems. However, accept the responsibility. Own your life. Own yourself. That gives you power. You no longer need to wait for someone else, or God, or destiny to come and rescue you. You need to rescue yourself. However, don’t get stuck in the guilt. Yes, you need take responsibility, but by taking action, not by worrying about things you could have done differently or better. Find that balance between responsibility and guilt.

In your journal, write about where you stand on this. Is there guilt that is holding you back? What is it about? What can you do about it? Focus on reflection, but be prepared to take action.

See every day as a new chance, new start, and be a go-getter

There is absolutely no point worrying over all the things you didn’t do, all the chances you didn’t take. Start today. See every day as a new opportunity. In your journal, reflect on how you can take each day as a new start. If you are currently more a worrier, write about how you can overcome that and make the best of every day. Again, through the reflection in your journal, focus on taking action. Just tiny steps. Don’t try to do everything at once. Small steps, consistently taken, are more powerful than a giant leap once in a while.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE TODAY:

Review  your list of goals, and start with an action plan to achieve at least one of your goals.