This post's title comes from one of my favorite artists - Jason Mraz. His "Yes!" album re-centers my soul. I have no idea what that means exactly, but it calms me and enhances my happiness by 1000 percent. While my appreciation for Mr. A-Z's music runs deep, he is not the subject of this post. This post is about looking forward instead of focusing too heavily on the past.
But don't get me wrong - the past is pretty important. Every millisecond of your life has shaped you into the person you are in this exact moment. Your previous experiences - whether resulting in happy, sad, regretful, nostalgic or other types of memories - cannot be changed. (Well, actually - that's not completely true - you can change your long term memories... but that's besides the point. I'm not trying to get into psychology or neurology here!) What happened, happened. The past is fantastic for learning how to proceed going forward, but you shouldn't waste your time with "I wish I would have done that differently." You cannot change what you did or what happened.
So - go make your next choice be your best choice. Take control of what you can - your future.
"Ugh, I shouldn't have had that cake. I want to get healthier!" That's okay - choose something healthier next time. In fact, plan on what that will be now, so you don't slip up and have more cake. And after that, make your following choice your best choice as well. Plan your upcoming meals so when you are hungry, you have something to eat. When you make the choice and follow through with it, it gives you a sense of satisfaction and a reminder that "yes, I can do this!". Focus on your next steps and set some goals. You CAN do it, you just need movement in the right direction. And allow yourself some snacks - but in moderation! No one eats perfectly 100% of the time. If they say they do, then they are liars. Everyone deserves a cheat meal - just don't make your food choices a cheat lifestyle.
"I wish I would have completed college." Guess what! You're not dead, right? And college is still a thing? Then do it! And don't tell me that you don't have time for it. If you don't have time for it, you don't want it bad enough. Make time. Create a schedule that allows you to include college courses (or whatever other thing) in your life. Make the choice and take the action. No excuses.
"I shouldn't have spent money on that." Too late now, the money is gone. But you know what you can do? Come up with a budget and stick to it. And maybe allow an amount that gives you the opportunity to buy things that you "shouldn't" so that it not longer falls into the "shouldn't" category. But as with all things in life - prioritize. Make sure you cover the necessary bills (the "needs") before you find wiggle room for the "wants." Or, continue to make poor choices and work your way into debt (or, further into debt if you're already there). It's up to you - it's your choice. Do we all see the theme here?
You can apply this to just about any scenario, I think. I've recently made this phrase my personal motto. I had a birthday a few weeks ago and decided that this WILL be my best year yet. I've made goals around my health and am focusing on one day, one decision at a time. I can already see improvement in myself - and focusing on one choice at a time is far less stressful. And with each good decision, the next time I have to make a choice, it becomes easier to make that decision a good one.
I personally find that having an overarching structure of some sort (guidelines, a plan, a schedule, anything) helps me as well. For example, I'm trying to improve my overall health. I decided to only implement one change at a time. First, I started juicing every morning (fruit + mixed greens). And the beautiful part of that choice is that my daughters and husband enjoy the juice as well. Not only is my good decision helping me, it's helping them as well.
Next, I made it my goal to have a salad for dinner most nights of the week. My target is 4-5 nights a week. I find that I do better if I have a variety of ingredients available so that each salad is not exactly the same and I don't become bored with salad night after night.
Once my routine felt fairly adjusted to the juice and salad change (i.e. they felt like part of my normal routine), I started a goal to accomplish at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Whether it's biking, yoga, or HIIT - I need to do 30 minutes of something every day. Out of the last 11 days, I have only had 2 days where I didn't hit that goal. Which is okay, right? As long as my next choice is a good one. Normally, out of 11 days, I think I would have had maybe 4-6 days of exercise. Now I'm up to 9. So, I'm improving there as well.
I've shared some general examples and some of my own person examples. Overall, the idea is that you can focus on one action at a time or go as far as a full plan, but know that you can always become a better version of yourself. You can't go backwards and undo or modify any part of your life, but your future is not yet determined. Every action you take in your life IS a choice. You make the decision and you can make the change. If you can keep making your next choice be your best choice, then you will be enabled to become the absolute best version of yourself.
- You can't change your past, but you can control your future.