Facing the Challenge of Integrating Presence and Planning

Nicole M. Guerton

Facing the Challenge of Integrating Presence and Planning

Do you ever encounter ‘analysis paralysis’ in the seeming contradiction between practicing mindfulness and making purposeful plans? 

Whether you find yourself bursting with curiosity, tearing up with sorrow, or experiencing unbridled, exuberant elation, being present right here, right now challenges most of us beyond articulation. Likewise, forecasting a future ‘best self’ and structuring plans to achieve desires may seem daunting or contradictory to the practice of being present and attentive in the moment.

Here are four suggestions that could help harness both values of practicing mindfulness while intentionally planning an improved quality of life:

1) Let go of preoccupation of the past: Acknowledge what has happened (or hasn’t happened); allow yourself to ‘feel’ and take a deep breath; recognize and come to terms with the fact that what has happened cannot be changed. (This may take a couple repetitions!) For some people, looking at what has been learned or gained from the situation can be helpful in the process of letting go.

2) Look at what and who you have around you: The resources and people around you can help determine your base (starting point). As well, identifying support versus barriers will help you determine what and who you want to have around you to be successful. You make choices every minute of every day—choose people, places, and activities that support your health and wellness goals.

3) Set goals based on what you really want: Base your goals, progress, and success on positive, achievable expectations rather than on shame or guilt. Spending too much time reliving mistakes or poor choices from the past blinds your vision for future success. Learn from and commit to not making some of those mistakes; identify the obstacles that steered you toward those decisions in order to avoid, prevent, or overcome the obstacles in the future.

4) Plan for the future while being present now: Plan for the future with the expectation that change is constant and in order to get to those goals, you will need to take each day one day at a time and often need to remind yourself throughout the day to be mindful about what you can do right now.

As we learn and grow, each of us encounters the world with various backgrounds, perceptions, and expectations. If we liken experiences (including memory, feelings, perspectives, etc.) to fingerprints, no two people will have identical ‘experience-prints’, even if put in the same situation. What we have in common is the ability to learn, grow, and move forward, rather than stagnating in the past or worrying about the future.

Coach Nicole is a board-certified wellness coach, trained resiliency teacher, health and well-being consultant, mindset explorer and perceptive collaborator who serves as a compassionate resource for individuals, families, businesses and communities.  

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*Always consult with your physician prior to experimenting with any exercises, recipes, health advice and nutrition initiatives shared in this blog.