How to live mindfully

What is mindful living and why does it make you happier and more productive?

Living mindfully means being present in the here and now. This sounds very easy, but it’s quite difficult. If you focus on your thoughts, you’ll soon notice that you’re either rethinking the past or worrying about the future. With mindful living, we can find a balance between those two. It’s important to acknowledge that we learn a lot from the past and we also want to work on our goals for a better future. However, if we only focus on the future, we postpone our happiness for after we reach those achievements. For example, you have to finish a project at work and feel like you have to make offers now. You decide that after you’ve finished this project you will feel happy. Or you are studying and only focus on passing your exams. You can’t have fun, because you need to study hard, but you think that after you’ve passed your exams you will be happy.

This seems smart, but eventually, when you’ve gotten to the finish line, you won’t feel happy. Why doesn’t it make us feel happy when we reach this goal? The reason is that we fell into the trap of living a goal-oriented life. Every time we finish something, we set an even bigger goal and every time we postpone our happiness and freedom. This means that if you only think about the goal, you can’t be happy now.

If we only live a goal-oriented life, it means that when we don’t reach that goal, all our work was for nothing. I experienced this myself when I was trying to make a video. I had been working on it all day long, but during the editing, I noticed that it just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I decided that I should film it again the next day. Because I was goal-oriented, I felt that I hadn’t been productive that day and I felt quite frustrated, but when I called my sister, she told me that it’s not always about the goal. I did a lot that day, I learned what I didn’t want my videos to look like and this way I gained experience! My lesson for that day was that life is about the journey, gaining experience and enjoying the progress.

Therefore living mindfully is very important for our mental wellbeing. If we live mindfully, failing doesn’t exist, only learning and developing ourselves. Besides, being present in the moment can also make us more productive, because instead of thinking about one big scary goal, we focus on the small steps we can take today. This has many benefits: we tend to have less stress, it’s easier to concentrate and we also experience more joy and creativity.

In conclusion, living mindfully is the key to being happy and successful!

The advantages of Journaling

If you ask successful people how they achieve their goals, chances are that they’ll advise you to keep a journal. While it may seem silly, or time-consuming, it has many advantages.

The truth is that I felt quite unsure about journaling for a long time. I had been working on my productivity and motivation for years and I often read that journaling daily should be part of that journey, but I just didn’t seem to have time for it. Only recently I decided to put my notebook to good use and I started journaling once a week. Somehow I got so motivated along the way that I journal every day now! Anyone can find time to journal once a week, right?

What is so special about writing things down in a notebook and how can it help you?

Well, first of all, you can use journaling for remembering your good ideas. When we write things down, we can always read them back. Research shows that we have between 60.000 and 80.000 thoughts a day. If some of those thoughts are any good, you should probably write them down before your mind gets filled with new thoughts. Our brains are constantly searching for new information, and that’s why we get distracted all the time. Therefore, it’s simply impossible to remember all our good ideas.

Secondly, you can use journaling for accountability. Writing down goals and plans on paper makes us more likely to do those things. Somehow the fact that it is written on paper makes it feel like an obligation. If we check our notebook and see we didn’t reach our goals, we feel guilty. On the other hand, if we only set the goal in our mind, it’s easy to get distracted again and forget about the goals we set in the first place. Besides, by writing down our goals we can easily keep track of our progress. It’s very motivating to see how we’ve grown when we look back at the goals we’ve already reached. This motivation keeps us going and inspires us to set more goals.

Lastly, you can use journaling to feel more grateful. If you write down the things that went well after a long day, you will focus more on those good things. It’s very easy to lose our minds in negative thinking, that’s why practising gratitude is so important. Believe it or not, but focussing on the good stuff makes you attract more good stuff. Just give it a try!

Let me know in the comments if you have more journal tips. Also, if you got enthusiastic after reading this, get yourself a notebook and start today!