Monday, March 16, 2015

5 Ways to Be Present Today

I'm loving the sunshine and the warm weather this spring! After a gorgeous weekend and lots of family time, it's not always my favorite to jump into another Monday but I do love that it's time for another Fit Dish link-up with JessicaJill and the #fitfam!

This week's [optional] topic is "Be Present: Do You Live in the Moment?".



Being present is an everyday battle for me. It's so easy to start thinking ahead to what needs to happen this week or this month or what didn't happen last week. While planning ahead is wise and To-Do lists are helpful, allowing myself to be distracted by the list or whatever is scheduled for this week is not beneficial. Jesus said it Himself:
So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. MATTHEW 6:34
My #1 Biggest "Being Present" Killer is: Distraction.

This week, I read an article by Beecher Proch called "Why You Should Kick Distraction to the Curb" and it completely coincides with being present in life:
"Anything that diverts your attention from your God-given task, pursuit, or dream is a distraction. But every step you take farther along the path God’s placed you on will make His voice all the clearer about the future."
Worrying about checking everything off the To-Do list distracts me from the precious moments of playing with my son. Choosing commitments that aren't in line with my God-given purpose leads to a busy, stressful life. Overbooking the week leads to less family time and being in a constant time-crunch and low on sleep makes me unpleasant to be around when we do have family time.

While I was mowing the lawn leaves during nap-time today (yes, our snow is gone!), I thought of a few steps to move towards a more present life:

5 Ways to Be Present Today

  1. Be Selective with Your "Yes". A busy, jam-packed schedule is not conducive to being present! When asked to commit to something, determine if this will be a positive addition to your life or a negative distraction. My goal is to first ask God if this is something He wants me to pursue, check the calendar to prevent over-booking, talk with my husband and then answer!
  2. Cutback on Commitments for a Season. It's okay to say "no" to some commitments - whether long term or just for a season. With our second child planning his/her arrival in a couple months, life is going to change dramatically. We will need time as a family to adjust to this huge change and that means cutting back on commitments if necessary.
  3. Steer Clear of the "Busiest Contest". People like to compete to see who is busiest, as if there is some honor in running yourself ragged. When a conversation like this pops up, I find it best to sneak away quietly:  "I am soooo busy..." "Oh, you're busy? Well, I have _____. I'm SO much more busy!"
  4. Busy ≠ Important. Contrary to what the world believes, being busy does not make you important! Instead the chaos of a busy, distracted life keeps you from living in the present moment and enjoying the people around you (or maybe even the peace and quiet).
  5. Take Notes. When my mind is distracted from the moment at hand, I take a quick second to write down whatever is distracting me. Once whatever was bugging me is down on paper, I feel like my mind is free and then I can fully focus again. Maybe that's weird, but it works for me!
When our second baby arrives, being fully present is going to be even more of a challenge. We've been warned (a few times) of all the stress and busy-ness that's on our way

I anticipate life with a toddler and a newborn to look something like this:
  • Less sleep, more coffee.
  • Double the diapers to change (and more pressure to potty-train toddler).
  • Avoiding grocery trips with both kids at all costs for at least a month or two.
  • Actually accepting help when people offer.
  • One blog post a week if I'm lucky.
  • Balancing breastfeeding the baby while doing a puzzle or reading a book with the toddler.
  • Taking a couple months off playing piano at church.
  • Running in the wee hours of the morning or on the treadmill if both kids nap.
  • Sitting in the backyard with baby sleeping and toddler burning off energy.
  • Making sure I pay attention to both baby and toddler!
With all of the craziness to come, I know I'm going to miss these years - dirty diapers, baby spit-up, toddler tantrums, sleepless nights and all.

Our first "newborn" is now two years old already and I wouldn't mind if time slowed down just a little. When he's 18, I'm really going to miss all of our book-reading, stroller-pushing and cuddle times.

Whatever season of life you are in, make the best of where you are because:
“The days are long, but the years are short.” Gretchen Rubin

What helps you to be present each day?
What keeps you from living in the moment?

Linking up with Fitness Fridaythe Fit Dish and Mommy Moments. #dishthefit

14 comments:

  1. Great post! I constantly trying to live more in the present and spend less time trying to get everything done on my to-do list. These years will go by way too fast and I want to cherish each moment with my kids before they grow up. Family is always my priority!

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    1. I agree, Melissa! The memories we have with our families are truly priceless! This time goes way too fast.

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  2. Beautiful post, Amy, and one I will be rereading! So well said and I definitely want to apply these tips. And, no worries about baby 2. I was really anxious about how I would handle it, but I just loved it. I did wake up a lot earlier, but it was a blessing. Thanks for your words!

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    1. Thank you for the reassurance on baby #2, Jessica! The nerves have been creeping up on me as we get closer and closer to baby's due date :) It's always nice to hear from parents of two who make it work and love it!

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  3. I love this & one I will be re-reading too! We can help each stay accountable to being present ;). I especially love being selective with your yes. I have a hard time with this because I love to please people, instead of pleasing the right people...myself, God & my family.

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    1. Yes, reading your post was so helpful - you had even more tips that help with each day! I didn't even mention social media limits but that is a huge help! I'm a people-pleaser by nature, too, and it has sucked the joy out of life in my past... Praying for change and to live in the freedom of pleasing God!

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  4. Great post! I finally gave into the "busy thing" myself. I am busy, there is no doubt, but I really try not to feed off if it or off of everyone else's busyness. I have learned to truly enjoy relaxing and slowing down when I can!

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    1. That's true - there are some great ways to handle busyness in those chaotic seasons, Jodi! Not feeding off the busyness or other people's busyness is very important to keeping a relaxed mindset even while living in a whirlwind :)

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  5. Nice post! You are so right, busy does not equal important and you know what we can say No every once in awhile! Enjoy those moments Amy!

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  6. Okay, this is all SOOOO good! I love all 5 of your points! I am a huge proponent of being selective with what/who you say yes to, and not overcommitting! I learned that in college, and have carried it through my adult life, and now into parenthood!

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    1. Thank you! I have been slowly learning that lesson the hard way over the years. Over-committing just isn't worth the stress!

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  7. I was the unintentional queen of the busiest contest. Craziness but I thought the busier the better. I was always striving but not always thriving.

    Thanks for linking up! #fitfamlove

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    1. So glad you have found ways to live more in the present now, Jill!

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