Why daydreaming about a perfect future robs you of the joy of living in the moment
The future – that magical, mystical place where everything will finally fall into place, and we’ll be eternally happy. You know the one, right? It’s where you’ll finally land that dream job, marry the perfect partner, and live in that picturesque house with a white picket fence. The only problem with this perfect utopia is that it’s just that – a fantasy. And the problem is that when you borrow happiness from tomorrow, you’re just not living in the present.
I know this sounds a bit cliché, but there’s a reason why every self-help book, guru, and motivational speaker preaches about the importance of living in the present. It’s because it’s absolutely essential for our well-being, and ironically, our happiness. So, let’s dive into why it’s time to stop idealizing a fantasy future and how to start enjoying the here and now.
Chasing happiness in the future leads to dissatisfaction
The problem with constantly dreaming about a better future is that it creates an insatiable hunger for more. No matter how much we achieve or acquire, we’re always chasing the next big thing that will finally make us happy. Spoiler alert: it never does. It’s like running on a never-ending treadmill, always reaching for happiness but never quite grasping it.
What’s worse is that this constant quest for future happiness often blinds us to the beauty and joy of the present moment. We’re so fixated on what could be that we miss out on what is – the funny moment with a loved one, the warmth of the sun on our face, or the satisfaction of a job well done.
Playing out negative scenarios about the future is not the route to happiness either. When you worry about tomorrow and constantly imagine the awful What If’s of life, you can’t possibly enjoy living in the present moment.
BFB Success Formula: How to Start Living in the Present
An attitude of gratitude is one of the most powerful tools we have to break free from the happiness trap. By focusing on what we have instead of what we don’t, we train our minds to appreciate the present moment. Start by keeping a gratitude journal and writing down three (new) things you’re grateful for each day. It could be something as simple as a delicious cup of coffee or a hug from a friend. Over time, you’ll start to notice the abundance of happiness that’s already in your life.
Alternatively, write a letter or an email of gratitude to someone every week. Research shows that this is a powerful exercise to improve wellbeing
- Try Mindfulness (then try it again)
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. It’s about being fully present and engaged in whatever you’re doing, whether it’s housework or washing the car, walking to the shop or listening carefully to the person talking to you. If you like, you can cultivate mindfulness through meditation, whether it’s guided or not. Or try to incorporate mindfulness exercises like the check-in-with-yourself technique. The simplest way of practicing mindfulness is to make a conscious effort to be present and living in the moment as you go about your day.
- Let go of perfectionism
While it’s natural to have goals and dreams, it’s important to set realistic expectations for ourselves. Constantly striving for perfection or placing our happiness in the hands of unattainable goals only leads to disappointment and frustration. Sure you can have a big goal, in fact, I recommend setting a big goal in every aspect of your life. But you need to break these goals into small, achievable steps and celebrate your progress along the way.
- Be kind to yourself
As humans, we’re often our own harshest critics. We berate ourselves for not being perfect, for not achieving more, or for not living up to our fantasy future. But it’s time to cut ourselves some slack. Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with the same kindness and understanding you would give to a close friend. Remember, nobody’s perfect, and we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have.
- Reconnect with yourself and others irl (or at least by video call)
In today’s hyperconnected world, it’s all too easy to get lost in the endless scroll of social media, comparing our lives to the carefully curated highlight reels of others. This only fuels our desire for a fantasy future and takes us further from the present moment. Make a conscious effort to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself, your loved ones, and your surroundings. In these moments of connection, you are already living in the present.
- Laughter is the best medicine
Humor has a magical way of bringing us back to the present moment and reminding us not to take life too seriously. Notice the funny moments and after a while, you’ll realise that there are so, so many of them. After all, isn’t it a bit hilarious that we spend so much time chasing after happiness when it’s often right in front of us?
The truth is, there’s no such thing as a perfect future where happiness is guaranteed. Life is messy, unpredictable, and filled with ups and downs. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find happiness in the here and now. You can choose one or all of the techniques outlined in this article, they’re all pretty good! Wether you choose to cultivate a gratitude practice, make a conscious effort to be more mindful, set realistic goals and break them down into useful and small chunks, practice kindness to yourself, make sure you make time for connection, and laugh at life’s absurdities, you can stop borrowing happiness or fear by living in the tomorrows, and start living in the present, in the Here and Now.
Lastly, please keep in mind that happiness is a lifelong journey. And it’s happening right here, right now. Don’t miss it.
If you’ve committed yourself to just ONE goal, drop us a comment! And don’t forget to join the blue-foot flock!