One Step at a Time Toward Your Future: Live in the Present

In addition to focusing on what you do want versus what you don’t when planning to make changes, living in the present and taking one step at a time are also principles compatible with success.

We all get the planning part of the equation. The other two notions can be more difficult to grasp and/or do, however.

LIVING IN THE PRESENT

Many people, you may have noticed, tout the benefits of living in the now. This is largely because projecting your feelings into the past or future often contributes to such uncomfortable states as anxiety and depression.

Actually, states Jennice Vilhauer, PhD, in Psychology Today (“How to Be Present and Still Create Your Future”):

The reality is we can only experience thoughts and emotions in the present moment; it is the only place we exist. [emphasis mine] However, in the present you can, with conscious awareness, think about any time frame, past, present, or future. If your goal is to lead a fulfilling life, then how you allocate your thoughts in these time frames matters. The past is gone. We can never bring it back, except by bringing our attention to it. The present, no matter how awful or sweet it may be, is constantly leaving. It is what just passed. Holding on to it is impossible. The future, however, is constantly arriving. The arrival of the future and the now we live in are one and the same.

By the way, Vilhauer is the author of a new book, Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use the Mind’s Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life (Future Directed Therapy).

ONE STEP AT A TIME

If you have a plan of action, what you’re living/doing right now is what’s going into making it work out—one rewarding step at a time. Once you take that first step, in other words, the positive effects of taking that step help move you toward the next one. As Pam, a character in my screenplay Minding Therapy, remarks: “Move your feet today; tomorrow your feet will move you.”

Some other quotes:

John Pierpont Morgan: “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”

A.J. Darkholme: “Anything you dream [can] be yours simply because you’ve focused on the steps you could take instead of the distance to get there.”

R. J. Gonzales: “One must simply take the days of their lives as they happen. If you spend time worrying over what is to come, which may or may not happen, then you will only be wasting precious days you will wish in the future you could have cherished a bit longer.”

John Wanamaker: “One may walk over the highest mountain one step at a time.”

Lao Tzu: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.: “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

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