Focus on today for a healthy tomorrow

An active and fit senior couple resting after doing exercise in nature at sunset. Supplied.

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Taking action in the face of fear is what makes us brave. Whether the manifestation of our fears is real or imagined doesn’t matter, conjuring up our bravery in the face of those fears is what allows us to be stronger and more successful in life. Taking the first step forward to make positive changes in our lives to eat better and move more can stir up a handful of different uncertainties. We know it’s important to eat healthy and be active on a regular basis, we know the positive effects those changes will bring us in life, and the negative ones they can prevent, such as reducing the chances of developing chronic conditions. Yet for some reason, we internally fight ourselves because we are scared to take that first step towards change.

Our fears might be centered on logistics, on what others might think, or even in the doubt of our own ability. It’s because of these fears that it seems easier to perhaps shy away from making changes in our behaviors and to avoid talking or thinking about it. Our mind can have a way of letting us ignore the obvious and not address or confront what needs to be done. Not today.

Today is our day! Let’s address the elephant in the room, and bring our health and happiness to front of mind. Let’s act despite our fears, whatever they may be, and be brave enough to take one step forward with what we eat or how we move. The proverbial elephant in the room isn’t going to go away. So let’s face it head on and take that first step.

But what does one step forward look like? The first step towards leading a healthy lifestyle by changing our habits and behaviors with regards to what we eat and how we move will be different for all of us. Right now, perhaps one step forward simply means packing one vegetable in our lunch every day. Perhaps it means taking a 10-minute walk when we leave the office for the day, and before we get into our cars to go home. Or perhaps, it means walking into a grocery store, and asking for help in the produce section so that we can cook a healthy dish for dinner that night.

The steps that we take towards moving more and eating better every day will have multiple positive impacts on our lives, and over time our behaviors and habits will grow healthier and healthier. It doesn’t matter how far we may have to go or how challenging our journey ahead may be, any step forward is a step of progression; and although it can be difficult, it’s important to remember to take those steps one day at a time. What can we control today? What small actions can we take today to move a little more, or eat a little better? What has happened in the past doesn’t matter, nor does what may happen tomorrow or the next day. If we can focus on the “today”, every day, before we know it we will no longer be fearful of making changes where we once were. By focusing on the here and now, and letting tomorrow be tomorrow, we will find our small steps accumulate into many successes.

Making changes in our lives to eat better and move more can seem overwhelming at times and can send our minds off running a mile a minute with question and thought. Our challenge this week is to stare our doubts in the face. It’s to address that elephant that we don’t want to acknowledge. It’s to accept that yes we are fearful of making changes, but we know it’s the right thing to do and it’s time we took action. There will be ups and downs, but if we think about the here and now we can’t lose. How will you face your elephant today? How will you clear the room so that your new behaviors and habits have space to thrive and in-turn allow you to thrive as well?

This column was written and provided by Jennifer Wilson with Strathcona County’s Recreation, Parks and Culture Department.