One of the most important keys to truly enjoying your retirement lifestyle is learning to live in the now. Unfortunately, this is not the easiest thing to ask people to do. Many of us are constantly overshadowed by the past or worrying about the future. Once you learn to live in the now, however, you will experience a tremendous freedom and peace.

There are some things all of us can do to begin to live in the now and truly enjoy doing so. Here are my top tips for living in the now.

1. Make notes to yourself about the things you find yourself thinking about that are from the past or the future. In a short period of time you will begin to see a pattern in those thoughts. You will identify the things that continue to either pull you back or cause you to worry about the future.

2. Make peace with missed opportunities. Most of us have missed opportunities life presented to us. We might have done so for very good reasons. Many of us are still weighted down with the “what if” questions. Make a list of missed opportunities in your life. Then decide whether they are still worth pursuing or they are better laid to rest in the past. If you still wonder, “what if?” then go and pursue the opportunity now.

3. Make peace with old hurts and resentments. Remember that resentment does the greatest harm to the one who holds it. Either make peace with the person or situation that caused the pain or resentment or else decide to let it go. Set yourself free of the old baggage of pain and anger.

4. Deal with your guilt. Most of us have made mistakes in life. Many of us carry guilt over some past mistake. In all probability, you have punished yourself for your mistakes in many ways. Go and make peace with the mistakes of the past. Acknowledge your guilt, make peace with the people hurt, and learn from it. Then journey forward.

5. Let go of self-doubt. Most self-doubt actually comes from outside us. Other people tell us we have failed or that we will fail. If this happens enough, we begin to believe it. Don’t believe it. Every person has abilities and personality traits that are good and useful in helping others. Think positively about your abilities and persevere.

6. Face your fears. Worry about the future is often a matter of becoming focused on our fears of what the future will bring. Recognize what it is about the future that you fear. Deal with it by developing a personal plan to ensure that the fear never becomes a reality. Then implement that plan and know that you have done all you can do to prevent it.

7. Don’t focus on comparisons. Many people become obsessed with having the same things others have or doing the same things others do. You are who you are, and your life is what it is. Don’t waste time wondering why you don’t have what someone else has. Figure out what you actually need, and learn to be happy that your needs are met.

8. Learn that the judgments of others are insignificant. Your single task is to be the very best person you can be. Worrying about what other people think is a distraction. You must accept your character and live from it. Even if someone else is disappointed, you can only do your best.

9. Don’t clutter your day with so much scurrying from here to there that you can’t just stop and enjoy the beauty of the day or the gift of a friend’s time and presence. Give yourself time to breathe -- time to absorb the world around you and to be thankful for all that is good and awe-inspiring in each day.

10. Embrace the unexpected challenges and joys of every day. We often say, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Learn to look for the silver lining in every cloud immediately. Learn to enjoy the adventure of life’s little surprises.

These tips will, I believe, help you learn to live in the now and keep your mind and your spirit focused on the gift of every present moment. Embracing the gifts of life and reflecting that joy to others, will fill you with peace and happiness.

Copyright 2008 by Dr. Cynthia Barnett

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Cynthia Barnett is an author, speaker, life coach and a leading authority on how to "re-fire" and reinvent by making the rest of your life the best of your life.Go to to get your FREE report on the 7 Biggest Mistakes Retirees Make and How to Avoid Them For An Extraordinary Retirement.