During the last couple weeks, I caught myself several times doing 3 mistakes. Instead of being present in the given moment, I shifted away and struggled to be part of a conversation, a lesson in university or simply working focused. Instead of being grateful for what I have and work focused towards my goals, I procrastinated and was lost in my own thoughts. Because I don’t want you to experience the same, here I want to explain the 3 mistakes I made recently and how to avoid them:

#1 Trying to plan and foresee my future

Instead of enjoying the present moment, I tried to figure out what will happen in the future. Which path I should walk on and where I will be in one year. I tried to give myself an answer on the question: “What’s next?”

Security is what I have looked for. I wanted to have something I can hold on to. A plan. I looked for something I can imagine. Something I can “calculate”. A tactic, which I can relate to.

Over the last weeks, I have realized, that it is okay to not have a plan. It is okay to be surprised about what comes next. To be open to new opportunities, and curious about what will happen in the unknown future.

There is no path to follow. And you only fool yourself, if you think that there is one. Don’t do the same mistake I did a several times. This is the thing about life. You never know what comes next.

Therefore, focus on the given moment. On the right here, right now. Your goals don’t start in the future. Your goals start here. In the present. The same goes for the person you want to become. Take action now, instead of hoping for a better self in the future.

Focus on the present moment and enjoy it, instead of seeking security in assumptions about the future. The future isn’t something you can affect. The present is.

#2 Forsaking the present moment

Directly connected to the first point, this second point is all about shifting away from where you are right now. Do you feel your fingers, while reading this? Do you feel your surroundings in this given moment? I was neither feeling what was going on around me.

I often got trapped in thinking about something tomorrow, this weekend, in 3 weeks… I felt how I shift from being with a friend and talking to him to “planning” my upcoming presentation in 3 weeks. Or instead of enjoying a family dinner, I focused on my university classes the day after. I forgot about the present moment and shifted my focus to the future. Unconsciously. Unwillingly.

With doing that, I wasn’t able to enjoy a moment. Worse, I wasn’t able to be in a moment. I often had no clue what is going on around me, because my thoughts were somewhere else. I realized that there is no way to enjoy a present moment, to be grateful for a present moment, if I can’t stay in this moment.

In addition, I often couldn’t remember what happened, because I wasn’t present in this given moment. I struggled to revive a conversation, trying to remember the words my friends have used and the way they expressed their opinions.

Now, I actively remind myself to increase my consciousness in a moment. I try to absorb every little detail of a moment and guide my focus back the present, when it starts shifting away.

Do the same, remind yourself to stay in the present moment and try to become an active part of a conversation with friends, a game you play or just by feeling how you turn a page, when you read a book. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves of the joy of the present.

#3 Doing nothing against negative thought patterns

The next and last point of the 3 mistakes is the worst. I didn’t stop my negative thoughts in the last few days. I allowed myself to think in a negative way, which stressed me out. Instead of seeing what is possible, I calculated different negative future scenarios in my brain, which probably won’t happen at all. I drew a picture of myself, failing the next university exams (although I didn’t fail one of them until now, knock on wood.) I imagined how I will fail to write my bachelor thesis next spring, although I like writing.

Negative thought patterns started to control the way I act, because I didn’t act against them. Unconsciously, I let them happen, rather of trying to find out, where this thought came from and how I can overcome it.

Now, I try to get to the roots of these negative thoughts. My goal is exploring where these thoughts comes from. Where and when they were born. Then, I can understand how I can overcome them. I revive the emotions, the root-cause of a negative thought and analyze what it means. After I understood where they come from, what it means and why I feel so bad about this, I can actively take action against them.

Therefore, I want to encourage you to do the same. There is nothing worse than negative thought patterns holding us back from achieving what we want and could achieve! Come to grips with yourself, take your time and be honest with yourself. This is the best way to overcome every fear and anxiety (more on that in the future.)

Now, avoid doing the same 3 mistakes

These 3 mistakes are what I have recently discovered as negative influences on my life. They gave me a hard time, enjoying the present moment, contributing to others and feeling an inner balance. But, because I discovered them, I consciously can do something against them. I can take action against the negative way of thinking, by getting to the root of it and try to understand what it means.

Also, just like in meditation, I can refocus on myself and the present moment to enjoy what I have right here, right now. Concretely, this means that e.g. during a dinner, I remind myself to taste the noodles, smell the sauce, feel the texture of my spoon and listen to what the others say. Just by doing this, I remain in the present moment.

Concerning my unconscious wish for future security, I recently started to avoid using a calendar. First, I want to remember any super-important events on my own and even more important, I don’t want to waste time and energy, planning something weeks ahead. Although I can’t know if it comes true or not. Instead, I focus on the present.

After you read this, make sure to avoid doing the same mistakes I have made. Listen to yourself and focus on the present instead of wishing for future security. The best future security isn’t made of thinking about the future. It is made of giving your best in the present moment.