You have probably heard the term Carpe diem many times over your life. It is often translated as “seize the day”, meaning to enjoy life while you can. But life changes from moment to moment, so a better, more apt term might be “Seize the moment.”
When we seize the moment, we take full advantage of the opportunities that life gives us. We find joy, love, and adventure in moments that would otherwise pass us by. In our modern world, we’re often so busy and occupied that these moments slide right by, but there are ways to discover those moments for yourself. See how many of these 15 ways to seize the moment you do in your everyday life!
What is the meaning of “seize the moment”?
To “seize the moment” means that you embrace life, moment to moment. Others may not even know these moments are there, but you notice the opportunities embedded in everyday life, and you take full advantage of them. When you seize the moment, you find joy, adventure, and love in life.
15 Ways to Seize the Moment in Your Life
1. Live Intentionally to Seize the Moment
In order to seize the moment, you absolutely must live intentionally. And the opposite of living intentionally is to live on autopilot.
You may have heard it said, “Don’t live the same day over and over again and call that a life.” (Quote by Germany Kent.) After years and years of choosing the same thing over again, the same cereal, the same job, the same denigrating thoughts… we literally wear paths in our brains that make it difficult to make a different choice.
But it is possible to break free of living on autopilot, it just takes a lot of effort and continued awareness. And when we live intentionally, we start to notice a lot more of those moments pop up that will be joyful or adventurous for our lives!
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2. Utilize Your “Yes”
Often, when we’re asked if we want to do something, thoughts flood our minds of what could go wrong, what embarrassment we might suffer, or what others might think.
I can’t dance, I’m such a klutz! I’ll probably injure my dance partner!
I can’t go to the beach until I’ve lost those extra 10 baby pounds. No one wants to see that.
I can’t go into business for myself… I’ve never been good at money, and I’m just not ready.
But when we say “yes” to those things, we’re actively giving ourselves more opportunities for those moments of joy, love, and adventure to catch up with us. Sometimes we have to leave behind the risk of embarrassment, judgment, or even failure.
As André Gide said, “You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
3. Utilize Your “No”
Conversely, agreeing to everything will overload you and give you burnout quickly. We’re taught to be accomodating, to be helpful, and to not be a burden on others. That is a dangerous combination that can put you in some awful situations.
If you’re already overwhelmed and your boss asks you to complete yet another project, perhaps your response would be, “I have more than enough on my plate right now. Once I’m finished with that other project you asked me to complete, I’ll take a look at it. Or if it’s time-sensitive, Chris might be a good alternative for a project like that.”
It’s a subtle way to say “No” that can be pleasing to both you and your boss. Saying no is your right. You should never have to justify saying no to someone.
And when you say no to the things that are getting in the way of life and enjoyment, you leave yourself more space to seize the moment.
(Read about how to set healthy boundaries.)
4. Change Your Routine
As you live more intentionally each day, make sure you occasionally change things up. Altering your routine can open so many new doors that you did not even know were there.
Perhaps you stop at a different coffee shop in the morning and meet a cute guy. Maybe you start walking 30 minutes on your lunch break every day, and before you know it, you’re sleeping better and have lost 5 pounds.
When you get out of that “autopilot”, you’re offering life a chance to bring new things your way. And maybe the coffee at the new place isn’t as good, or maybe walking every day at lunch outside gives you a sunburn. At least you tried! New experiences help us learn what we like and what we don’t, and what our true values in life are.
5. Carpe Diem by Trying New Things
Similarly, you can try new things to seize the moment of your life.
Think of some things you’ve always wanted to try. Maybe when you were a child, you loved horses, but you’ve never ridden one. It’s never too late to do it, even 35 years late!
Maybe you’ve always wanted to travel to Japan, but you worry about the language barrier. Hop on Expedia and book that flight!
Trying new things with a partner or best friend is a great way not only to bring excitement and vitality to your own life, but you can also refresh your relationship with that person by getting into something new with them. You might learn something about that person you never knew!
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6. Make a Bucket List
While you’re in the mindset of thinking of new things to try, get out a piece of paper and brainstorm a bucket list. A bucket list, of course, is a list of things you’d like to do before you die.
Get creative with your bucket list. If you’re a calculated, rational person, perhaps add learning watercolor or trying stand-up comedy to your list! Here are a few others, ranging from simple to life-changing, that you might want to try:
- sing karaoke
- go skydiving
- travel to all 7 continents
- adopt a baby
If you need other ideas to get you started, check out this ultimate list of bucket list items to get your creative juices flowing!
7. Learn to Live in the Moment
With so many things swirling around in our heads about tomorrow’s big meeting, your daughter’s dance recital on the weekend, all the weekly chores you’ve been putting off, and finishing your taxes, it’s easy to get caught up in our minds.
In fact, according to a Harvard study, people are dealing with wandering thoughts about 47% of their waking time. That’s almost half of our entire day that we’re lost in thought, away from the present moment.
When you learn to live in the moment, you’re focusing your attention on what’s around you at any given moment. The amazing thing about the human brain is that we have what’s called metacognition. That means we have the ability to know when our mind is wandering!
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8. Face Your Fears
Our fears are one thing that gets in the way of our living our life to the fullest. Embarrassment and risk are one thing, but what about when we act from a place of fear?
Psychologists often call this trauma-response or fear-based response. It means that we suffered something terrible in the past, and we’re working to protect ourselves against it in the future. It’s a real thing, and it can be debilitating.
Learning our fear-based responses can take a lot of time, effort, soul-searching, and, yes, even therapy. And unearthing these fear-responses we have can be extremely painful. Even though it is mental, it can even have an impact on your physical health. So proceed with a trusted friend or family member or therapist who can help you.
But when you get through these fear responses, you see things in a much clearer light than if you had let your trauma responses cloud your judgment for the rest of your life. Breaking through may allow you to seize the moment a little more easily!
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9. Play to Seize the Moment!
One thing that is often forgotten in our hectic world is the power of play. Children’s natural state is one of play. They create games, make new toys from broken ones, and use the power of their imaginations to create entire worlds out of a few household items.
Adults have the ability to play as well, but we’ve often been away from it for so long that we forget how to do it. Some things that we can do, according to Daring to Live Fully, are:
- decide what fun means to you
- keep a play drawer
- have play dates with your significant other
- hang out with kids
Playing helps loosen our “rational” grasp on reality and can help us see opportunities that we couldn’t see before and seize the moments of our life every day. (Think divine feminine energy!)
10. Get out into Nature
Nature is the ultimate inspiration for anyone hoping to live more intentionally and discover new things. Nature is infinite in its new things to discover and explore.
Not only this, but nature demands that we put away our work, phones, and social media. You can examine new plants, stargaze, follow the cycle of the moon, birdwatch, catch toads, or just find new paths in the woods! This helps lead us to new experiences and new discoveries!
Getting out into nature is the perfect way to seize the moment in your life and it can help you go with ebbs and flows of your life.
11. Leave room for spontaneity
When you plan everything down to the minute, you might be organized, but you leave no room for creativity or growth. And of course, there are some days that you just absolutely need to be organized down to the T. But on an average day, leave space in your schedule for creative endeavors.
Being spontaneous can mean anything from popping in to visit a friend, or going for a walk down a new neighborhood, or even stopping your chores to have a dance party with your kids!
Spontaneity can draw out our passion and vitality, and it can switch on our positive brain connectors, like love, joy, and trust.
So make sure you leave some time in your day to do something active and fun! Carpe diem!
12. Put the phone down to seize the day
When we’re plugged in 24/7, we’re not engaged with the world around us. Sure, it’s important to keep up with the daily news and to check in on your friends on Facebook. But we don’t need to be on social media every chance we get a break.
Maybe during your lunch break, instead of pulling out your phone, sit with a coworker and have a conversation. When you get home from work and collapse on the couch, instead of surfing Instagram, close your eyes and do some deep breathing. Talk to your kids and ask some intentional questions. Sit outside on your porch and breathe the sweet spring air.
There are so many more engaging and healthy things to do rather than be on our phones all the time.
13. Stop comparison and judgment
When we compare ourselves to others and judge others for their choices, we are closing ourselves off to potential deep connections with others, which is another way to seize the moment.
But suddenly quitting judgment and comparison can be a challenging task. It requires awareness and mindfulness, as well as a dedication to connecting with others. How do we connect with others?
Ask open-ended questions.
Remind others that their feelings are valid.
Share a story of a similar experience you’ve had.
Really, being there for others isn’t difficult, it just requires a little bit of thought, and it can help us live life to the fullest and take full advantage of every day.
14. Dream big and go for it NOW
There are no guarantees in life. There may not be a tomorrow, so why not go for it today? There’s never a perfect time to do anything.
- Waiting until you lose 5 pounds before you wear that stunning dress? Wear it anyway, or get it tailored.
- Been waiting for that guy to ask you out? Ask him out, and do it today.
- Wanting to wait until you have the perfect opportunity in your career before you have kids? Make that opportunity happen NOW and get busy!
All of your monumental dreams are valid. And YOU are the only one who can bring them to fruition! So get on it today.
15. Know that you have limitless power over your life
Life is for living. You may not have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you react to it. Will you sink into the conveyor belt of life and let it take you? Or will you learn and grow and make your life into something you enjoy, each moment?
I believe that we have unlimited power over our lives. So when we want to seize the moment, all it takes is a little forethought and effort to transform our lives into something intentional and meaningful.
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These 15 ways to seize the moment will help lead you through live life to the fullest so that you may find wonder, spontaneity, play, joy, creativity, trust, and love in your life today.
What kinds of ways are your favorites to seize the moments of your life?!
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