Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Stay Focused on Today

Stay present.  Live in the present.  Focus on this moment.  Just for today....

We are always encouraged to value the moment we are presently experiencing.  We are cautioned to not live in the past or think too far ahead to the future.  Why is that?  Certainly we want to understand our past to learn how we got to where we are now, and surely we should plan for the future so we are ready for when it arrives.  Of course, to some degree, it is healthy and responsible to reflect on our past, and plan for the future.  But, when we find that we spend more of the time thinking about the past or worrying about the future than we are soaking in today, we are missing out on our own lives.  We aren't truly living in the now. 

So, what does that mean?  I remember being amazed the first time I heard that "the present is really all that you have".  Sometimes we forget that the "present" is what becomes yesterday's "past", and tomorrow's present is our "future".   In other words, we can't make any decision that will affect our past or our future that we haven't actually made "today".  It's an obvious concept, yet, it struck me as profound.  In a way, it is freeing to know that if we just stay focused on today, and spend our energy on what we think and do in this exact moment, we are actually creating the past as we would like for it to be, and we can consciously be thinking about how our decisions today will affect us tomorrow and in the future.

How does this concept apply to healthy living and self-care?  We can realize this one critical point:  All that we need to do is just concentrate our energy on making healthy decisions for ourselves today around our food, our drink, our family, our sleep, our relaxation, our work, our play, and our laughter, etc.  We can identify and prioritize the baby steps that we plan to take today.  We don't need to live in the past, worried about the cookies we snarfed down a few days ago, or punish ourselves for not taking better care of ourselves over the past winter.  We don't need to worry about the future and whether we are going to be able to control our sweet tooth before a big presentation or visit with the in-laws.  We just need to focus on this very day and make the best choices we can in this exact moment.  We can let go of the rest.  Isn't that amazing?  Doesn't that feel freeing? 

One of my favorite quotes that Oprah often says is that "When we know better, we do better".  If we now know that we only have to stay present in our lives and make small steps TODAY towards living a healthier life, our goals for healthy living become much less overwhelming and more maneagable.  We only have to think about today.  We can handle today.  We can handle this hour.  We can handle this minute.  We can handle this decision.  We can handle the present.