If You're Waiting for the Perfect Moment, You'll Just Keep Waiting

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Often, I hear people talk about their desire to change their lifestyle and adopt healthier habits.

“I’m ready to do it, but I’m just going to wait until after vacation to start.”

“I really want to lose weight, so after things slow down at work in a few weeks, then I’ll get to it.” 

For most of us, life is hectic. We’ve got jobs that keep us busy, family, social events, and lots of other things that can make it challenging to focus on ourselves. I can see why people want to wait until the time is right, so that they have the greatest chance of success. But I don’t necessarily think that’s a good idea for a number of reasons. Interested in knowing why?

I’m a big advocate of slowly making changes to your life that you feel you can live with forever. That’s the best way to move from a “diet” mentality to a permanent lifestyle change. Waiting for the right moment implies that there’s going to be a huge shift from what you’ve been doing to something totally new.

You can’t go on vacation and still enjoy yourself if you’re on your “diet." There will be too many temptations to fall off the wagon, so you need to wait until you get back to start. But if you’re really thinking about this as a permanent change, there is no “falling off the wagon”. You learn moderation, enjoying the foods you love without feeling deprived, while most of the time still eating food that is good for your body. You might not lose weight on your trip, but you also don’t gain 10 pounds because you gorged yourself on food and drinks for a week. Waiting for the right time also implies there is a start and stop to the changes you’re making, instead of just a gradual shift toward a healthier lifestyle.

If you’re busy like most of us are, there’s never going to be a great time to start. There will always be things that can get in the way of your scheduled workout, or temptations in a social setting where food is available. You’re not expected to be perfect all the time. Sometimes you will miss a workout, whether it’s because you stayed out late and just couldn’t get out of bed in the morning, or you’ve got a meeting at the office that you just can’t miss. Sometimes you’ll eat a little more than you planned. The key is learning how to adapt to those instances while continuing to keep the bigger picture in mind.

Before I had kids, I needed conditions to be perfect in order for me to exercise. I felt like anything less than an hour was a waste of time. If I was tired, I’d put it off until I felt more rested. These days, I’m happy for any amount of exercise I can squeeze into my busy day. Often it’s a 20-minute online workout before my kids get out of bed. I might be beat from a long day, but I’ll push myself to do something (even if it’s not much at all) if I’ve got the time. 

The time is never going to be just right. There’s always some excuse you can make, or something you think you need to wait to finish before you can start working toward your goals. In reality, there’s no better time than right now. Even if you’re making tiny steps toward your ultimate goals (finding 10 minutes to take a walk today or passing up that second helping of dessert), you’re still moving in the right direction.

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An insult or a snide comment that makes me mad and puts my "I'll show them" motivation into gear. Report
Similarly, there always seems to be time to take care of others - but never ourselves. Once we overcome these two problem mindsets we're well on the road to a happier, healthier lifestyle. Report
Well said! I think this is what held me back for a long time before I got over it. Report
There's never an ideal time to get sick, but it happens and we can't control it. Instead we take care of ourselves then go back to everything in our lives when we're feeling better. Why is getting healthier - something we CAN control - not given as much concern? Probably because 'there is always tomorrow'. If you knew you'd get sick the next day if you weren't healthier today, would you put it off then? Considering every day lived in an unhealthy lifestyle does make us sicker, there's no reason to ever wait! Make better choices today instead of attempting perfection. If ever meal you left behind 3 bites of food, that will add up. If every day you add an extra few steps, that adds up. If every time you have a choice you choose just a little better, it all adds up! Then you never need to start - you just keep going! Report
I appreciate this reminder. Too often we get ourselves into the mindset that we have to be just perfect. It is good to know that when we fail, we can pick ourselves up, figure out what derailed us and KEEP GOING! Life is hectic. This is why I need to make good lifestyle choices so I can be prepared for whatever life throws at me. Report
Totally true! Report
Great Blog. The time is NOW! Report
So true!! We all need to look at "how do I want to feel in 10 years"? Exercise and a healthy 'diet' is not about a quick fix. It is about making good choices most of the time so that the small amount of time that your choices are not so good do not matter. Report
Great point! Thanks! Report
Great article - there is always a reason to wait until tomorrow, 1st of month, after an event, etc. It is a lifestyle change and tiny steps will add up! Report
Thanks!!! It was necessary for me to read this article! Be healthy! Take care of yourself and your family! Report