Living for today

23 03 2011
Jessica Peacock

Jessica Peacock

In American culture we are typically preoccupied with the future. You may have noticed this when, during lunch, you thought about what you were going eat for dinner. Or maybe when you were thinking about all of the things you needed to do tomorrow at work while you were driving home for the evening. On the flipside, maybe you tend to dwell about things that happened in the past; the workout you missed or the second helping of dessert that you already regret.
Whether you’re trying to live in the future or are stuck in the past neither is likely to help you reach your weight loss goals. You cannot control what will happen tomorrow and you cannot change what has already occurred. What you can do is stay focused on the present moment. Today offers new opportunities to be mindful and make healthier choices. Here are some strategies that may help you stay in the present and use today to your advantage:
1. Set short-term goals. No one is going to lose 50lbs overnight. So while having a long-term goal is helpful, you need smaller, more manageable goals that will ultimately lead you to your end result. Try setting one daily goal to work towards each day. This might include eating 5-6 fruits and vegetables or getting 45-60 minutes of activity.

2. Start each day on a positive note. When you wake up, remind yourself that it is a new day and you are going to make healthy choices. It may sound cheesy, but suggestion is a powerful thing! Put up some visible reminders of your goals on your fridge, phone, or car dashboard.

3. Learn from the past. Dwelling on a slip-up or setback will not be helpful; it will probably only make you feel worse. However, it does help to take a moment to process a negative experience and think about what you could do differently that might help you in the future. But only take a moment; then, move on.

4. Monitor yourself each day. As you know, the program expects that you will keep a food diary. It might help to review this diary throughout the day to evaluate your progress. What went well? What can you work on tomorrow? Reserve judgment though – the purpose of checking in with yourself is not to beat yourself up. It is a chance to be honest with yourself and identify steps you can take now to do better.

Staying in the present is not easy – it will take a lot of practice! However, living in the moment and focusing on what you can do right now to reach your goals is the only way you can influence your future. Making a healthy choice today will mean a healthier tomorrow.

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