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Chasing the Dream: Be present with your dreams

It’s so easy to get caught up in our future plans. But along the way, doing so can leave us unappreciative of the present. Don’t let it. Instead, bask in the little joys every day — from the laughter of your kids to the little compliments you receive.

Some days, I find myself caught in the loop-de-loop of that magical, mystical “some day” when all my dreams will be reality. It’s a lovely fantasy where I spend my days by the beach in my bright and sunny home writing books and watching my kids play.

While some degree of imagining is undoubtedly good motivation, letting myself dwell in that too long isn’t good. Why not? Because it takes you away from the present and robs you of the little moments that really mean so much.

Being present

Are you present with your dreams? If not, you should be. “Being present matters in your life and in your career because it allows you to see what’s really at hand and to make clear decisions,” says Dez Stephens, founder of Radiant Health Institute. “In your career, being present forces you to sharpen your thinking and get in touch with your emotions when dealing with job or business situations. It supports you in a meeting because it gets you to fully engage instead of zone out and alleviates a distracted and congested mind.”

Beyond this, being present allows you to really appreciate the little wins you have as you have them — and yes, that matters. “It is empowering. You infuse the present moment with all of your energy — your listening skills, creativity,” says Cassandra James, author of How to Go From BooHoo to WooHoo in 90 Days.

And in terms of your family, being present allows you to create those important memories that you and your kids will cherish always. From little things — like a game played unexpectedly — to bigger ones — like being there for important school moments… it all makes a difference for your kids and you.

Tips for being present

Convinced but not sure where to start? Being present is as simple as appreciating the moments as they happen. Steve Langerud, a workplace consultant and director of professional opportunities at DePauw University, offered these two tips for being present with your dreams:

Be interested and not interesting. “Being a good listener is one of the most essential skills to being present in life and at work. Active listening is a skill that can be developed and will increase the ability to be present with others,” says Langerud.
Become a goal setter. “Short-term, behavioral, and time-defined goals keep us in the here and now. Engaging others by naming, defining, and measuring the success of goals is a surefire way to stay present,” says Langerud.

More from Chasing the Dream

Self-compassion helps you do more
Managing your priorities

Why you need a mentor — and how to find one

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