Like me, if you reckon you’ll be happy when…that dress fits or you finally get around to joining the gym or you get a promotion, then you’re one of the many people who thinks about how wonderful the future is going to be, rather than enjoying the here and now.
By assuming the future will be better than today, we give ourselves excuses to procrastinate. I read an amazing book called The Slight Edge which is based on such a simple theory: that even the smallest beneficial adjustments, repeated daily, can make an incredible difference.
Motivated by this, my husband started doing just 10 press ups every morning. You might think that 10 press ups aren’t going to make a lot of difference to a person’s health, but as he felt stronger, this increased to 30 daily press ups. That’s nearly 11,000 a year. He didn’t have to change his life, just tweak it a little bit.
I, on the other hand, didn’t change a thing. Until I had one of those moments that jolted me out of my bubble of procrastination and made me realise I was living in the future. My husband had just left for a business trip and as I tried to get out of bed, I was unable to move my leg. My knee was red hot and swollen, the pain was excruciating. My doctors and I don’t know what caused it, but a calcified knot developed in my knee, which caused it to become inflamed and painful.
I spent the next several days relying on kind neighbours to take my kids to and from school, while I took as many painkillers as was legally acceptable and hobbled around with a walking stick.
It was a scary week and I desperately missed being able to do the simplest things like doing the school run, walking my dog or popping to the corner shop. These are the everyday moments we can so easily take for granted when we focus on the future, rather than in the present.
Suddenly the ‘what ifs’ that I’d been focusing on like ‘what if I lose a dress size?’ had turned into new, more worrying ones. What if my health deteriorates and I can’t take the kids to school, or go to the supermarket, or I can’t work anymore?
While my knee improved – albeit leaving arthritis behind - it was clear I was letting life pass me by. I had to stop procrastinating. I did my research and found a gorgeous puppy to join our family, to give me an excuse to get out of the house and take a brisk walk twice a day.
Then I hired a personal trainer for 10 weeks until I felt fit enough to join a gym. And now I’m swimming three or four times a week, as well as walking for 90 minutes every day.
So I encourage you to also stop taking the simple things for granted. Rather than imagining the future being better than the present, make a change today. No matter how small or insignificant it might seem, it is better than not doing it.
If not now, then when?
Head over to Bupa's YouTube channel to see me talk about my #EverydayMoments.
What is #EverdayMoments?
A new health report of 4,000 people, commissioned by Bupa Health Clinics, revealed that seven in 10 Britons overlook the role that feeling well plays in enjoying their everyday lives.
The #EverydayMoments campaign sets out to encourage everyone to share their own ‘everyday moment’ – all the fantastic things that they do every single day thanks to good health.
To help continue to enjoy your #EverydayMoment book an appointment at one of our 50 + health and dental clinics across the UK for a range of different health services, including physiotherapy, GP services, health assessments and dentistry.
For more information visit Bupa.co.uk.