I used to believe financial freedom was key to a happy life. It’s one of the reasons I became a financial expert. I thought if I had enough money, I’d be able to do all the things I wanted and then I could be happy, abundant and free.
But the reality was different. When I reached the point of financial freedom, my life started to break down. I began to worry about money where I hadn’t before, I made some bad financial decisions, and my marriage ended. It was a shock. How could I achieve everything I wanted only to feel emptier?
It turns out money is a magnifier. You’ll feel the same way after you build more wealth – only those feelings amplify.
This experience forced me to go inwards. As I explored my money mindset, I discovered how my values and beliefs had influenced my attitude to money, success, and achievement. I felt confronted because I began to see how I’d been using money as a substitute for true happiness and success.
And I’m not alone.
Society teaches us to make our happiness conditional on what we’ll achieve in the future.
It’s why we tell ourselves, “I’ll be great when…”
But as I painfully discovered, that ‘when’ may never come – and when it does, there are no guarantees you’ll feel the way you imagined!
You can’t be truly happy if you’re waiting for the future. Instead, you’ve got to find the happiness you want in the present moment – an experience that’s possible when you choose to be Financially Happy because this lifestyle invites you to be intentional and live in the now.
The Financially Happy way changed everything for me, and many of these 21 Live In The NOW practices helped me do it. Which ones will work best for you?
“Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.”
– Oprah Winfrey
1. Set an intention to live in the now
Living in the now starts with a decision to live in the now, which takes discipline – especially if this practice is new. For example, you have to remove distractions so you can focus entirely on what you’re doing. You have to continually pull yourself back to the moment if you get distracted. And you have to put all your energy into the activity at hand.
2. Set intentions to become feeling orientated, not goal orientated
It’s easy to become obsessed with goals – and you can understand why. Goals create focus and direction and help you clarify what you want to achieve with your life. They inspire you to do the hard things that allow you to step into your potential. But if you’re not careful, goals will steal your happiness because they’re a daily reminder you’re not where you want to be. Intentions are different. They still create focus and help you define what you want, but they also allow you to live in the now while you stay open to what life has planned. It’s as Kirstin Armstrong said, “We either live with intention or exist by default.”
3. Practice gratitude
When you push your happiness into the future, it’s easy to overlook all the incredible things you have right now. Gratitude is a powerful grounding practice that brings you right back to the present moment. As Jim Rohn said, “learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.”
Gratitude is an easy ritual to adopt. Start your day by writing down three things you’re grateful for – the simpler, the better. Allow yourself to feel thankful for the sun on your face, the support of a friend, or the freedom you currently enjoy in your life. Even better, feel how gratitude makes you feel in your body and notice how easily it switches on happiness.
The western world tends to be a very cerebral place! We spend a LOT of time in our heads – but we are so much more than our thoughts. Meditation helps you to separate the ‘you’ as the witness from the ‘you’ as the incessant thinker. When you’re able to escape the constant chatter about the past and future, you feel more grounded in the present moment.
5. Focus on your breath and breathe deeply
Your breath is the gateway to calm and present moment awareness. When you focus on the flow of your breath, you can silence the inner chatter and step deeply into the moment. Best of all, breathwork is a now practice that’s completely free and ready to go whenever you need it. There’s another advantage… Deep, intentional breathing is a proven stress reliever that can help you relax and feel more comfortable in your body too.
Did you know the average person has between 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day – most of them repetitive! This constant thinking distracts you from what’s happening in the here and now. Journaling creates a protected space to process these thoughts. As Mina Murray says in Dracula, “Journaling is like whispering to one’s self and listening at the same time.” As you empty your head of emotions, fears, worries, and desires, you find clarity or even closure. With headspace freed up, you’re better placed to focus on what’s happening right in front of you.
7. Smell a flower or taste a passionfruit
Do something highly sensual that requires your full attention. Get lost in the scent of a flower. Eat something so delicious that you can’t think about anything else. Feel the sand between your toes or the saltwater in your hair. Dive into an activity that ignites your senses, and you can escape your thoughts and embrace the now.
8. Dance, practise yoga – or have a good stretch!
Activities that take you out of your head and into your body are powerful ways to be in the now. So pop on your favourite track and rock away. Pull out your mat and strike some power poses. Or move and stretch your body to explore what it can do. Anything goes!
9. Love and accept where you’re at
How often do you spend time doing one thing while thinking about what’s coming next? For example, you’re drinking your morning coffee, but thinking about your journey to work. Or you’re watching Netflix while worrying about your to-do list. Imagine how these moments would be if they got all your attention. Wouldn’t your coffee taste better? Wouldn’t that Netflix show be more entertaining? More often than not, our worries and stresses are caused by life being out of sync with how we want it to be. It can be hard to sit with the feelings that resistance throws up, but when you surrender to the now, your happiness transforms.
10. Let go of desire and attachment
It’s a common trait to hold onto something for fear of what you might lose. This fear takes you out of the present moment and reinforces a scarcity mindset that steals from your life. But what if you could drop your attachment to any situation? What if you could surrender and see what else the universe has in store? This sounds terrifying, but opening yourself to possibilities you can’t yet see is one of the most liberating things you’ll ever do.
11. Go with the flow.
We are creatures of habit, and we like to feel safe. It’s why we make choices and decisions on autopilot that turn life into a predictable pattern. For example, we always take a specific route to work, or we hang out at the same bar on Sundays. When we get stuck in routine ways, we fall out of the flow of life. But dive into the now, and you can ignite your intuition. Have a play and let your gut guide you in the moment. When you allow ‘life’ to show you the way rather than trying to orchestrate every second, you unlock opportunities and experiences that weren’t possible before.
“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
– Eckhart Tolle
12. Get a fresh perspective on your worries
Worries take you into an imagined future that steals your joy now. As Erma Bombeck said, “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”. If worrying steals your joy, explore some strategies to help you find peace. Talk with someone, practise mindfulness, or journal it out. Give yourself a fresh perspective on your concerns and unlock the freedom to enjoy what’s happening now.
13. Let go of the past
Where worries take you to the future, regrets keep you in the past. Everything from tough experiences, to heartbreak, failure, pain and rejection keeps you reminiscing and wishing things could have been different. But you can’t change what’s already been – however much you want to. All you can do is learn from past experiences and let them go. Ask yourself who you need to forgive [this could include yourself]? Where do you need closure? Release yourself from things you can’t change, and find peace in the moment.
14. Do something you love
Have you noticed that some minutes last for hours, while some days drag on without end? That’s the thing about time – it’s relative. When you’re doing something you don’t enjoy, you start clock-watching – desperately wishing the time to pass so you can be somewhere else. In comparison, when you’re doing something you love the minutes no longer matter. Make more time for your passions. Dance, take adventures, cook, read, write, plan – whatever that ‘thing’ is for you, lose yourself in it and let the experience ground you in the now.
15. Do nothing!
Our modern world keeps us from boredom. If you’re fed up, reach for your phone! But when you’re always distracted, it’s hard to notice your true feelings. That’s why doing nothing can be eye-opening. Allow yourself to do nothing. Sit with boredom. Feel how it feels. Notice the sensations and the internal dialogue. It may be uncomfortable, but it also connects you back to your body and the now.
16. Enjoy a therapy
Complementary therapies such as massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, and acupuncture are simple but powerful ways to connect with and surrender to the present moment. Allow yourself to experience the healing power of touch, and let your body take you into the now.
17. Let go of the things that no longer serve you
What’s in your life that no longer makes you feel good? When you have a scarcity mindset, it’s tough to let things go. But as Tara Brach says, “Our enjoyment is tainted by anxiety about keeping what we have and our compulsion to reach out and get more.” When you tighten your grip, you prevent new things coming into your life. So even if it hurts, let go of the material possessions, relationships, or ideas that no longer serve you. Find the courage to do it, and you can step fully into what life wants to give you now.
18. Put away your phone!
Don’t allow your phone to become an extension of you! Instead, create protected time when you disconnect from social networks and the digital world so you can be fully present with the reality in front of you. Without the distractions of notifications or the temptations of ‘just one more scroll’, your relationships can deepen. What’s more, you can be in the now – instead of the imaginary world online.
19. See the world through childlike eyes
As we get older, we gain more life experience. But if we’re not careful, that life experience can force us to look at life too rigidly. That’s the power of opening your childlike eyes. As Jean de la Bruyère said, “Children have neither a past nor a future. Thus they enjoy the present, which seldom happens to us.” When you look at the world as a child, you drop your assumptions. You let curiosity lead and start to see the present moment in ways you haven’t before.
20. Transform the small moments into the big ones
There’s no doubt, big life moments feel amazing! The rush of a promotion, the joy of finding your soulmate, or the ecstasy of achieving a big personal goal. These moments create massive highs that you’ll love to revisit again and again. But put too much emphasis on the big things, and you overlook the magical moments that happen every day. Robert Brault says it best… “enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realise they were the big things.” So enjoy the sunsets, the all-nighters spent talking, and the hugs that bring you to tears. Magnify these precious moments that are always in the NOW, and see how magical life becomes.
21. Enjoy the entire journey
We’re living in a time when we’ve never had so many opportunities. You can work from anywhere, travel the world, make an impact with your career, and start a business from your laptop. It’s a time to think big – knowing there’s every chance you’ll achieve it all. But be careful. While you should have big intentions, remember the journey is always more important than the destination. Obsess over the end result and life will pass you by, but enjoy every moment as it unfolds, and happiness will await you at every turn. It’s as Zig Ziglar said, “What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.”
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
– Eckhart Tolle
I’m investing more and more of my time and energy to intensify my experience of the NOW.
I’ve found that the more you embrace the now, the more happiness, freedom, and abundance you can enjoy – and with these 21 different practices to try, you’re certain to find a few that guarantee your happiness.
Which will help you craft a more intentional life?