This is the final article in our Fit January series and I want to give you some food for thought as we move towards spring (yay!). We are constantly being told to be more present — to focus on living in the here and now. I agree it’s important to be present in order to enjoy our day-to-day lives but I also think we shouldn’t entirely ignore the future.
Indulge me for a moment. We map out and design goals that, we hope, will move us towards where we want to go in life. These goals will help us to improve areas of our lives like our health, our relationships, and our careers. But why then don’t we spend adequate time imagining, the person we want to be in the future and thinking about the life we want to live?
Some of you may be thinking, “Well, it’s because we can’t predict the future,” and to an extent this is true. However, what is also true is that the decisions we make now are impacting our future selves.
We regularly read articles about “what I would say to my younger self”. If you could talk to your future self right now, what do you think they would say? Would they be pleased with the decisions you are currently making for your future health, wellbeing, relationships and career?
It can be scary to think about the future, especially when there are no certainties. We think about the past because it has already happened and often it’s easier to remember than it is to imagine. Your imagination is like a muscle — it needs to be used in order to be strengthened and developed.
As adults, we are conditioned to deal primarily with facts and logic, and using our imagination is often considered a waste of time. The assumption is that if something is hard to imagine, then it’s unlikely to happen. But you need to imagine your future self so your present self has a map when it comes to making decisions.
Dr Benjamin Hardy, author of Be Your Future Self Now, believes that many people have already assigned themselves default futures.
Even if we are unhappy with where we are now, because it is familiar to us we are more willing to stay here, rather than seek out something else, as it is unknown.What we need to realise is that even if we are not actively trying to change, we still are. The one certainty in life is that we will all change. As Benjamin Franklin put it, “the only constant is change”.
Don’t allow others to put you in a box. Photo: Getty Images
Tips to embrace change
No one is exempt from change. We will all experience change in our lives. The type of change and the rate of change may vary, but how we feel and react to change is the same across the board.
Talk to people about how they deal with change — you might learn new ways and methods to cope from them. When you talk about something, it also helps to remove the fear and uncertainty.
We tend to look at change as negative but change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Reflection is a key tool to help us reframe change in our minds. Take a piece of paper and jot down times when change has happened in your life for the better. Sometimes positive changes can be disguised as negative. Maybe you were fired from a job, but that afforded you the chance to find a job you now love. Or a relationship broke down, which later allowed you to meet the love of your life.
Have you ever heard someone say to you or another person, “You’ve changed”? It’s often seen as a way to put someone down or insult them. Open yourself up to the possibility of change. By doing so you will open yourself up to new opportunities. Instead of thinking, “Why would I try that?”, try adopting the approach, “Why wouldn’t I try that?”.
Don’t allow others to put you in a box. You are entitled to change and evolve, to try new things and to become a different person. As the saying goes, “The people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind”.
Tip of the week: Create a vision board
Vision boards give you a clear direction for where you want to go in several areas of your life. They allow you to visualise the goals you want to achieve. You can use things like pictures, affirmations or key words. A vision board is designed to serve as a source of inspiration and motivation. It can be a physical or a digital board.
Anna Geary’s workout of the week
These exercises are great alternatives to high-impact movements — particularly if you have any joint concerns — but they are still challenging and effective when included in a workout. It’s important to keep adding in new movements into your workouts to challenge your body.
Beginner: 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest
Intermediate: 40 seconds work, 20 seconds rest
Advanced: 50 seconds work, 10 seconds rest per exercise