Find Your Zen: Be Proactive, Not Reactive
When someone says something hurtful, you are quick to react. Your instincts take over. You let your emotions get the best of you. You don’t try to understand the other side. And you often allow your hurt feelings to influence your actions.
However, they often guide you in the wrong direction. You become defensive. You are unable to understand how someone could say something so hurtful. And then the worst: you hold grudges.
Does this sound familiar?
While it’s great to live in the moment, it is also great to be proactive, not reactive. This involves preparing for the future, understanding different points of view, finding your zen, and taking back control of your life.
Why? Being proactive gives you that control. It puts the steering wheel in your hands and you better grab hold—life is a wild ride.
Being proactive is all about living mindfully. You must remain mindful of the now, but also of the future as well. Remember, you are the captain of your ship. You are in full control. Things don’t just happen to you. You make things happen.
Being a Proactive Person
A proactive person prepares for the future and takes action as opposed to reacting to what happens around them.
Reactivity is the way you respond to something after it’s happened. You may not be prepared. You aren’t sure what is going to happen. And so you react in the moment or after the fact.
For example, you might find your car is suddenly in need of a new transmission. You do not have an emergency fund or savings to pay for it. Having to take out a loan or borrow money from a friend or a family member is being reactive.
Being proactive is already having an emergency fund set aside to deal with the unexpected. Yes, it’s not ideal. But is life always ideal? No. Life throws challenges at us constantly. It’s how you deal with them that shows your true self. People who are proactive focus on the bigger picture. They don’t sweat the small stuff, because they know the small things don’t matter in the long run.
Proactive individuals are also on the receiving end of awesome benefits, including:
- Saving time and money.
- Solving problems before they happen.
- Decreased stress.
- Nurturing creativity.
- Ability to quickly recognize when changes need to be made.
- Improved self-awareness.
- Optimism about the future.
So, dust that dirt off your shoulders. Get up, and get ready. Learn to be proactive starting right here, right now. Incorporate mindfulness living strategies into your life. Prepare, change, and find your happy.
How To Become Proactive Instead of Reactive
How can you be proactive, not reactive?
Step 1: Predict & Anticipate
You can’t predict everything. But you can anticipate and predict certain major things, like needing a new car part at some point.
It doesn’t take a sixth sense to develop some foresight. Plan for every possible outcome. Think it through.
What if you became injured and couldn’t work for a period of time? Or the rest of your life? How would that play out?
It doesn’t necessarily have to have a negative association. For example, it could involve planning for that vacation. Do you have extra money put aside? If not, start now.
Try to imagine every scenario you can. Be realistic. Then, plan for it.
Step 2: Plan & Prevent
Make a plan. Put money aside. Think through any disagreements that could occur. Problem solve and find solutions before you need them.
Balance the future with the present moment. While mindfulness living is encouraged, look forward. Living in the present is wonderful, but plan for future you. The you of today is setting up life for the you of tomorrow. Be aware of this. And don’t let yourself down.
Then, actively set your plan in motion. You know where you want to be. So, what can you do right now to get there?
Take the initiative and take that jump. Influence your life and make things happen. You are not a victim, but a positive and powerful force with the ability to make your life whatever you want it to be. Start believing it, feeling it, then become it.
Be decisive. Decide and determine what you really want from life. How do you want to feel?
We want to feel happy and content. We want to be free of stress. We want to find our zen and balance. And here’s a little secret: It is absolutely possible.
Step 3: Stop Putting Things Off
While balance is important, procrastinating and putting off tasks until they become urgent only adds stress to your life. Get ahead on your day-to-day task list.
Check your car’s oil before it becomes an issue. Make regular check-ups with your doctor. Put aside a small amount of your paycheck every week for emergencies. Stock up on regular household items, such as toilet paper when it’s on sale as opposed to when you have none left.
In other words, get ahead while you can. Your future self will have less stress to deal with and your shoulders may feel a little lighter.
Step 4: Build a Priority List
What is important in your life? What is important to deal with right now?
Write it down. Get to work on creating your ongoing to-do list, starting with what takes the highest priority. You may also want to consider decluttering your life of things and maybe even people that aren’t serving what your truly want.
Then, accomplish one thing at a time. Work on getting ahead and getting things done as opposed to waiting until life throws something your way and you’re forced to react to it.
Step 5: Set SMART Goals
This goes hand in hand with deciding what is important in your life. What do you want to accomplish? Consider setting goals.
Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-specific. Then, go after them!
This not only sorts out your priorities but also gives you something to focus on. That other drama in your life doesn’t matter when you have a goal in sight.
And here’s a little reminder: Keep yourself in check when it comes to perfectionism. Being a perfectionist has the potential to shatter your zen, leaving you more frustrated than before.
Step 6: Be Accountable & Honest with Yourself
Hold yourself to these new rules. Take those necessary steps as outlined above. Further, revisit your goals at the times you set to see how far you have come. Or take a look at your list - are things getting checked off?
Lastly, be honest about what doesn’t work for you and what does. Don’t make excuses. You are only fooling yourself and holding yourself back.
Change is Scary…
...but you can do this. You’ll become more satisfied with your life and faceless stressors by being proactive as opposed to reactive.
Mindful living is wonderful for many reasons and it also takes into account your future. You will be able to be more present knowing that the future is going to be okay.
And definitely don’t let yourself down. Know you have already taken care of your own worries, and remember that no one else is going to. You have to look out for yourself before you can start caring or looking out for other people.
And always remember, you are in complete control of your life. Find your peace. Find your zen. Start being more proactive today!