I’ve been excited to work on this topic over the last couple weeks. And then last week I saw a video update on Connect Canada from Rosie talking about the same topic (check out her blog on this site if you haven’t. Super talented woman!!). If I’m thinking the same as Rosie, I’m on the right track.
Golf provides so many great analogies for our health journey. Golf mindset coaches teach players this interesting contradiction, that they need to treat critical moments during tournaments as the most important/defining moments of their lives, while being simultaneously uninterested in the outcome. Seems ridiculous.
But the proponents of this technique explain that when you’re excited that a shot could win you a championship, or that same shot could be a horrible and embarrassing failure with the whole world watching, you’re now living in the future, and there’s no way that this defining moment can be the most important thing in your life. The outcome is. Which makes achieving the outcome you want much much harder.
This is such a great reminder for me, I have to really focus on living in the moment. Great things happen when I concentrate on what’s in front of me, and be aware that the noise of past failures or uncertainty about how I’ll handle the future, is all just noise. All that emotion influences my ability to make the decision I intend to make. Have you ever got to a point where you can’t understand how you got THIS UNHEALTHY?? In my opinion, this is how. Overwhelmed by the emotion of the future and/or the past.
I don’t think I ever realized how un-present I was in the decisions I made. Hedy and I use a phrase around the house to describe massively changed behaviour that’s consistent: “this is what we do now”. Example: making a healthy meal for 99% of our Saturday nights. We’re not thinking about how are we going to keep this up, we’re not thinking about how we can eat healthy next Saturday, we’re not remembering the wasted years of making indulgent food the centre of our weekends. Healthy Saturdays is just what we do now. Just making that decision while shutting off all the noise we create that influences it.
And this isn’t to say that you just shut out emotion from your life. That’s unhealthy and unrealistic. But I try and deal with it away from the plate. It helps to talk it out with a group or someone like minded.
I find this one of the hardest mindset techniques to master. Because I include “I’ll start eating healthy on Monday” as a part of not living in the moment. That phrase stole decades from me, or at least contributed to the tragedy. It just feels incredibly natural for me to get tied up in those emotions and then validate this procrastination as “normal”.
If living in the moment is something that interests you, the hardest part in the beginning is trying to notice the moments. There’s no tomorrow. There’s no yesterday. There’s no later today. There’s only “right now”. It’s the only thing we can really control. What’s in front of us in this very moment is the only thing (other than planning) you can do about your health and wellness. There’s a lot of comfort in that for me. I don’t have to eat healthy on Christmas or my birthday (I plan to every year, but that pressure can feel overwhelming), I actually don’t have to lose 100+ lbs (that one is hard to shut off) I just have to eat a healthy meal right now. That’s it. That’s not 1/3 of a success (2 more meals today). It’s not 1/7th of a success this week, it’s not a waste of time because of the binge yesterday. Eating what you intended in the moment is a 100% success. Literally no room for improvement. None! You did it! You can’t be better than that. I know that thought is hard to agree with because (i) we’ve lived out of the moment so often it’s an engrained habit, and (ii) we punish failure more than we celebrate success. I struggled initially with this concept because I couldn’t consistently notice myself negotiating over whether to be healthy now or later. Once you see the excuses clearer and faster, once you drop the pressure of how you got here or how far you have to go, it’s easier to just make the right choice. A healthy life is literally one healthy meal consistently repeated. We’re the ones that complicate it beyond that.
Some of the stuff I write about are lightbulb moments for me, and I’m fortunate that when I share them they become lightbulb moments for others. This one’s harder. This one fights truly ingrained behaviours most of us don’t even notice. We’re a breath away from December and some of us (oh I’ve been there many many times!!!) are already thinking “I’m gonna get really serious in the New Year”. Not living in the moment is just that easy.
So if you need a baby step to start, try noticing the emotional influencers in the decisions we make. Emotions are surprisingly close to 100% past/future stress, even if the “future” is defined as this afternoon. Once I became aware of the emotional conversation I was having every moment of every day, just grabbing a salad got easier.
So I hope this helps your journey and makes the struggle a little easier. If it does, make sure you thank Rosie 🤗🤗.