“The trouble is you think you have time.”― Buddha.
Often I hear people talk about their desire to change their lifestyle and adopt healthier habits.
· “I’m ready to lose weight, but I’m just going to wait until after my vacation to start.”
· “I really want to quit smoking, so after things slow down at work in a few weeks, then I’ll get to it.”
For most of us, life is hectic. We’ve got jobs that keep us busy, family, social events, and lots of other things that can make it challenging to focus on ourselves. I can see why people want to wait until the time is right, so that they have the greatest chance of success. But in my humble opinion, I don’t think that’s a good idea as there is no perfect time. There never will be. Instead, take the moment and make it perfect.
I’m a big advocate of slowly making changes to your life that you feel you can live with forever. That’s the best way to move from a “diet” mentality to a permanent lifestyle change.
Waiting for the right moment implies that there’s going to be a huge shift from what you’ve been doing to something totally new. You can’t go on vacation and still enjoy yourself if you’re on your “diet”. There will be too many temptations to fall off the wagon, so you need to wait until you get back to start. But if you’re really thinking about this as a permanent change, there is no “falling off the wagon”. You learn moderation, enjoying the foods you love without feeling deprived, while most of the time still eating food that is good for your body. You might not lose weight on your trip, but you also don’t gain 10 pounds because you stuffed yourself on food and drinks for a week. Waiting for the right time also implies that there is a start and stop to the changes you’re making, instead of just a gradual shift toward a healthier lifestyle.
If you’re busy like most of us are, there’s never going to be a great time to start. There will always be things that can get in the way of your scheduled workout or temptations in a social setting where food is available. You’re not expected to be perfect all the time. Sometimes you will miss a workout, whether it’s because you stayed out late and just couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, or you’ve got a meeting at the office that you just can’t miss. Sometimes you’ll eat a little more than you planned. The key is to learn how to adapt to those instances while continuing to keep the bigger picture in mind.
Before I had my son, I needed conditions to be perfect in order for me to exercise. I felt like anything less than an hour was a waste of time. If I was tired, I’d put it off until I felt more rested. These days, I’m happy for any amount of exercise I can squeeze into my busy day. Often times it’s a 20-minute workout run before my son goes to school. I might be dead from a long day, but I’ll push myself to do something (even if it’s not much at all) if I’ve got the time.
In the end, if you’re constantly saddled with “waiting for the perfect time”, these tips might help:
· Revise your expectations. Recognise that there is no perfect time and there never will be.
· Carve out time, even if it’s imperfect. Nobody will give that time to you. You’ll need to take it.
· Just start. Find the smallest possible thing you can do right now, in the next 5 minutes, and do it. Now you’ve started!
· Do something, anything. Action is a “vote” in favour of a different, healthier, fitter life. Vote early, vote often.
· You only have to get through this moment. This moment of starting will be the hardest. Luckily, it won’t last long.
· Expect resistance. It’s normal. Push through it. Resistance doesn’t mean this won’t work. It just means you’ve started.
· Get support. Whether it’s a friend or family member, workout buddy, or a coach, find someone to fire up your booster rockets until you can fly on your own.
There is never a perfect time for you to take action. There is never a perfect time for you to launch that project, to spend time with your family, to write a book, change your habit, or embrace a new habit. Once you acknowledge this, you will get a lot more meaningful work done every day.
Your happiness doesn’t reside in the future, and it hasn’t passed you by, either. It’s right here. Step into this most beautiful moment and connect with your existence. Life is happening right now. Don’t miss out.
So what are you waiting for?