I’m all too familiar with putting things off. Postponing things. Putting things on hold. And then worrying about them, or feeling guilty about them, or just trying to block things out.
I remember way back when I was addicted to the ol’ pain meds – codeine, dihydrocodeine, and so on – and every day, I’d wake up feeling rough, thinking I should really give them up… Until I tried to get out of bed, and I’d start thinking of a million reasons – very few of which were pain-related – why I shouldn’t. I had writing to do. I had plans at the weekend. I had a meal planned that I was looking forward to eating, and I knew quitting would make me feel nauseous, among other kinda gross side-effects I’m not going to go into at breakfast time.
So, I’d put it off. ‘Til tomorrow, or worse – Monday.
Bloody Monday. Monday is always the day you plan to start afresh, when actually, I reckon it’s the worst possible day you can make a lifestyle change – because Mondays, on the whole, are a bit rubbish. It’s the longest possible time ’til the weekend, and even if you love your job – which I do – it’s still a bit of a drag when that Monday morning alarm goes off. To my mind, Monday is not the day to stick in a diet, much less severe opiate withdrawal.
Anyway, I’d put it off. And off, and off, and off.
Same with food. I’d plan to start a diet, give up carbs, eat only cabbage soup, or do the master cleanse in the near future – tomorrow, or Monday, or whatever – and then there’d be a whole bunch of reasons not to. Weirdly enough, none of my reasons were that all these things are a ridiculous idea, but anyway… I wouldn’t.
It’s really, really easy to decide today’s not the day. If you’ve got any semblance of a social life, or a work life, or even just a life full stop, there are plenty of things that can get in the way of the perfect lifestyle. Perfection, after all, is a bit of a bitch.
However, as I’ve said time and again, if you’re aiming for perfection, you’re doing it wrong. If you spend your life craving the perfect body, perfect hair, perfect skin, the perfect house, job, car, and so on… You’re going to be disappointed. That sounds negative, but it’s not. Once you can get over that need for perfection, you’ll actually be happier. ‘The best possible,’ I swear to god, is far more satisfying. Aiming for that is a surefire route to success.
Deciding when to get going on that road, though… That’s tricky.
Because there are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t make today the day you make a positive change. I can think of at least five for myself, personally. The fact that I’m going to spend three days next week eating festival food and, no doubt, drinking, whilst raving and camping… That’s a big one. I maintain that it is utterly impossible to be healthy in this kinda situation. I’ve also got a lot to do at work before I take a break for said festival; and I’m trying to get a bunch of projects tied up before then, too, so I guess I’m going to be what yuppie-types call “time-poor.”
Actually, scratch that – generally poor. London is expensive.
But there only needs to be one reason why you should – and that’s because you want to.
Because if you decide you want to, you can think on why. And chances are, you’ll unravel a whole bunch of reasons behind that, to back it up. Maybe you want to be healthier because you want to live longer, or better. Maybe you want to clean up your eating because you’re fed up of feeling sluggish and bloated (that, right there, is definitely one of mine.) Maybe you’re worried about diabetes. Maybe you just want your jeans to fit better, or to feel less fatigued by this whole heatwave business and the absolute horror of finding something to wear (again, my issue – because my summer wardrobe just ain’t a thing. Winter-time, I’m a style queen – summer turns me into a bad-haired sack o’spuds. This will never change.)
You may notice that none of these reasons depend on it being a Monday to make ’em important. (In fact, I’d wager that no great revolution, of any variety, came about as a result of starting at 9am on a Monday. I genuinely dare you to prove me wrong.) They also aren’t likely to be helped, long-term, by some kind of crazy unsustainable diet.
The thing is – to lean on a super-cheesy cliche – in this whole health thing, the destination isn’t really the point. The idea that you can do a short-term quick fix plan, hit your goal weight and then go back to what you were doing before is fallacious, and wrong. It just doesn’t work like that.
If you’re going to make a long-term change, you’ve got to expect the journey to be bumpy. You’ll probably get lost a few times. I know I have (and still do, from time to time.) But the journey is the whole damn point.
And so, if it’s a long-term change you’re going to make: why not today? Why not start now, by making a couple of small changes here and there? Why not have a little less dessert, or one less glass of wine, to start with? Hell, why not just decide to be a little more positive in your outlook?
There’s no reason that today shouldn’t be the day you make your life a little better. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; it doesn’t have to start with a grocery list ten miles long, a marathon workout, or an hour spent wearing a sandwich board telling the world you’re ON A DIET. You don’t even have to tell anyone you’re doing it, unless you want to.
But I’d wager there’s something you can do today – a little change, large or small – to change your world. There’s no reason on earth big enough to stop you doing it, if you want to.
Things will get in the way, and there will be obstacles. Be realistic. They’ll happen. But the prospect of, say, a birthday party next Saturday – that doesn’t mean you can’t spend the next six days being healthier, happier and feeling good. It’s the 80/20 rule again. If you’re doing the right thing most of the time, it’s okay to do wrong occasionally. That’s called living, and it’s a-ok.
And so, I say to you: why not today?
In fact – why not now?