At a certain point, you stop what you’re doing and realize that the past few years of your life have been boiled down to a routine. You’ve been so busy doing what you do and reacting to different circumstances in life that you come to a chilling conclusion: life is passing you by. We all have a finite time on this world and we don’t deserve to feel like that time is being wasted rather than spent well. For some people, life is about the journey. But for others, it’s not a journey, it’s an experience and each moment should be used as thoughtfully as the last.
Work on that thing you always meant to
Take the time to reevaluate your goals. What are you spending your time on and what would you rather spend it on? Is what you’re doing really going to improve your life? Some want to save money to buy a home. Some want to finish a novel. Some just want to read a little more. Even if you don’t know what your goals are, take a look at 60 ways to improve your life and pick out the ones that you agree with the most.
Some of your goals and self-improvement aims might seem hard. What’s your best chance at having the emotional resilience and the productive attitude to really get them done? A lot of studies and plenty of personal experience would say that getting up earlier and having a proper morning routine is a big part of it. When you start making helpful decisions early in the day, you have more time and more energy to make those hard decisions that get you further on your own path. Put them off, and you go through all the needful motions of the day. By the time you’re free to focus on what you want, you often feel too tired. An early start can make it a lot easier to do what you want.
Put yourself out there
As we grow older, we experience a much more compressed version of time. In part, this is due to the fact that there aren’t as many parts of life that feel new. Trying new things not only expands your mind, but it also has the effect of slowing down time. Look at these 52 new activities to try, or come with your own and commit to giving one a go at least once a week. Just don’t make the mistake of thinking that all new experiences are worth trying. You might have heard about the benefits of knitting for a long time but if you don’t want to try it, then it’s more likely to just be a miserable experience that puts you off the idea of trying that next new thing.
Try a change of scene
One of the new things that everyone should try is traveling more often. Again, new places are full of new sights, new cuisine, and new cultures. It also gives you that change of scene that makes your every day a little easier to contrast and to appreciate. Even if you don’t have a huge amount of money, it’s easy to find travel options that fit your budget. You don’t have to fly across the world. You could find just as many noteworthy and memorable experiences on a short road trip away from where you live. It’s the journey, not the destination, that matters more often in travel.
Get some friends around
Sharing an experience is always going to make it ten times better. Whether it’s getting friends to join you on that road trip or simply finding more opportunities to stop and have a coffee and a catch-up. If you don’t have an active social life, that can seem tough, but you can learn to socialize once more. Put away the fears of not striking an immediate rapport or of making a fool of yourself. Just treat the new people you meet as an opportunity to experience something new. People, too, can comprise that “something new” you should try every now and then. In the worst-case scenario, you’re learning more about yourself as you put yourself out there with new people. In the best-case, you can make a life-long friend.
Be in the moment
You don’t have to constantly be shoving new goals and experiences under your belt to better appreciate your life, either. You can just as easily learn to be in the moment, every moment. When you give the moment your full attention, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing; you won’t feel like time is just passing by without you noticing. You can even do it in a time of peace and quiet for yourself by grounding yourself and just getting in touch with the deepest part of you. 4 ways to easily ground yourself include focusing on your breathing, getting surrounded by nature, tracing your hand, or connecting to your body through light exercise. It’s an easy way to get yourself mentally present and alert, as well as to shrug off the stresses and fears that have been accumulating. You will always come out it with a more positive, aware mindset.
When you’re out and about, you might not have that opportunity to ground yourself. Instead, however, you can find yourself appreciating the moment better by paying more attention to the world around you. People-watching, for instance, has genuine benefits not only to your personal experience of a moment but for your ability to better communicate, too. When you watch people, you also learn what to become watchful of. You can become a more empathetic and emotionally active person in response.
Stop your mind from wandering
Sometimes, you want to focus on being emotionally and mentally present because you’re trying to do something important. But the mind does have a tendency to wander. So, what can you do to make sure you’re in control of your focus and attention? For one, don’t overload your plate. If you’re at work, take the time to schedule out your day and what you should be doing from hour to hour. Don’t multitask. As praised as the ability is, it gets in the way of you being able to hold your focus. Do one thing at a time. When you’re driving or talking to someone, get rid of distractions. Put your phone in the glove box or turn off your TV. Make a concerted effort to put your mind to one thing and one thing only until it’s done.
Appreciate what you have
We don’t often give things the credit they deserve. When it comes to our everyday life, we focus more on the routine rather than what it actually entails. For instance, it might a career that you truly do love, a family more important to you than anything else, or even your own daily self-improvement. Don’t take the things that make up the routine in your life for granted. Every day, write down one thing (or five, or ten, how many you want) that you’re grateful for. It will change your frame of mind so it feels less like time is passing you by and rather that you’re living the life you want. Don’t let anyone else’s assumptions get in the way of that gratitude, either. There is no right way to live life, just your way and whether you find it’s right for you or not.
Always keep in mind that stopping life from passing you by requires a two-pronged approach. Give yourself more things in life to enjoy, more moments to savor as they happen. Then be aware of the everyday little things, even the routines you do, and live in that moment and put yourself into them.