Today marks 100 days left in the year 2011. How is that possible? It feels like we just took down the Christmas tree and sipped champagne in anticipation of 2011!
Realizing that there are only 100 days left in 2011 got me thinking about all the things I want to do, how I want to make every day, actually every moment, count. One hundred days will slip by like the blink of an eye. So what can we do to savor the time? Here are some ways I’m going to stretch out these last days of 2011. Care to join me?
Focus On Details
Sometimes, as we live each day so busy with our obligations and deadlines, we forget to stop and enjoy the little things. It’s so easy to go through an entire day worried about the future, but by doing that, you’re never really seizing the moment and noticing all the details of what is happening right now. You could also be passing up great opportunities you just aren’t noticing. So, take a deep breath and savor the moment. As you do this, notice the little things that can make a day special — the smile of a friend, the kindness of a stranger, the beauty of a sunset. If you take the time to notice and enjoy what’s around you, each moment at a time, it becomes nearly impossible to stress. Right now, I’m enjoying the taste of my iced coffee, the two new blooms on the African violet plant on my desk, and the fact that the phone is not ringing.
Focus on Sensations
As you experience your day, take notice of the details and etch them into your memory. Notice especially the positive details of what is happening around you. There’s a great scene in the original version of The Parent Trap where Susan, posing as Sharon, meets her grandfather for the first time. She hugs him and then starts to smell his tweet jacket. Surprised by this, he asks her what she is doing and she responds, “Making a memory.” Creating memories, especially of positive events, will help you recall them when you need slow down and take a moment for yourself. To create a memory, notice the sounds you hear, maybe it’s children laughing or birds calling to each other. Notice the smells, like the scent of a fresh sea breeze, someone’s lovely perfume or the impending rainstorm. What are you feeling- literally? Is there a breeze in your hair? Is the sun shining on your skin? Noticing sensory details helps you live fully in the moment.
Focus On The Positive
Do you ever notice that it’s so much easier to find the negative in a situation but when pressed to find positives, it’s a lot more difficult? As humans, we’re naturally wired to notice the negative events in life more than the positive. This is how we keep ourselves safe- if we’re aware of threats around us, it’s easier for us to to launch a defense. However, let’s try to actively focus on the positive, so that we enjoy life with an optimistic point-of-view. To savor the moment, put the negative aside for a moment and notice what’s happening that’s right. Then, appreciate it. Remember, you’re not trying to pretend you’re happy when you’re not… it’s more of an exercise about noticing the things that can lead to greater happiness.
Feeling gratitude goes along with noticing the positive. This is an excellent way to savor the moment. Take time to notice all the nice things that people do for you. Then take a moment to thank them whenever possible. Or simply notice what you enjoy about people when they’re just being themselves. It’s ok to tell them that, too. Appreciate what goes right in your day as it happens. If you want to make a more permanent record of what you are grateful for, spend a few quiet moments at the end of the day and write it down in a gratitude journal. This is a surprisingly effective way to both raise your level of daily gratitude, and build a record of all the things in your life that can make you happy, which you can look back on when you’re having a bad day. To take it to the next level, photograph who or what you are grateful for and start a gratitude blog or weekly gratitude blog post on your existing blog.
Do What You Enjoy
Life is meant to be enjoyed and savored. If you find yourself going through a full day without experiencing anything you want to savor, try to add activities into your schedule that you enjoy. Savor them as you’re doing them. You may feel like there’s no time for fun, but consider how much extra energy and motivation you’ll get from pursuing things that you love to do. That energy transfers to your daily responsibilities and recharges your work. If you find you cannot add any time for yourself or what you love to do, you may want to find a way to reset your priorities.
Go ahead. You have 100 days to make the most of 2011 and start 2012 with an amazing toolbox of ways to enjoy every moment.