I have spent the past few weeks talking about resolutions, goals and change. The new year is an opportunity for many individuals to do something different: achieve a goal, be better, and feel better. What I don't understand is why so many people wait for Monday to start a new project or a diet, wait for Friday to finally sit and relax, or wait for the New Year to set goals and make changes. What is wrong with now? I wonder why the things that we often strive for continually get delayed. There is a false idea that a perfect moment exists. A perfect moment to communicate difficult news, a perfect day to try something new, or the perfect week to start working out. The only perfect moment is in the present — it is right now. This moment in time when the thought has been created is the best time. This is when it is right.
We divide time into three parts: past, present, and future. The only measure of time in which we truly have control is in the present. The past is what we have already experienced. We cannot earn back lost time and it cannot be replaced or altered. Yet, our past becomes our memory. We are able to recall moments from our past and process them in planning our future. However, the future is not guaranteed.
The future is an idea. It will always be outside of our range. When we dream or plan for our future and those dreams come true, those ideas are now experienced in the present moment. The future continues to be an idea that we can only imagine and hope for. It is a fantasy that we want to create.
The present is the one moment that we are forced to embrace. It is the only moment we have control over. Even if a person chooses to avoid a particular situation, he/she will still experience the present moment. In this case, that experience would be the act of avoidance.
A person only truly lives within the present moment. We cannot live in our past, we can only recall the memories. We cannot live in our future, we can only dream and imagine what we hope to achieve. But we need our past to guide us in the present. If I was not able to recall my past, I would not be able to recall therapeutic interventions. I would have failed my education and not passed national licensure. We also cannot live without our imagination regarding the future, we need to have opportunities to think, to create goals and to implement change. In order to live, and continue living, we need to be able to imagine our future: a better future filled with hope and opportunity.
In regards to change and achieving goals in the near future, implementing a change in the present moment will have an increased likelihood of success in the future. It will create the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of the past: what you have tried, what worked, and what failed. The present moment is when a person is most motivated. People facilitate the most change when the change is relevant to them. The moment when they are motivated toward change is now.
When considering resolutions or change for the new year, creating attainable goals for your future is realistic. During this process, it’s necessary to utilize the SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) method I previously discussed, but it is also necessary to start the process now. Now is what is guaranteed. So if you are really ready to do something new and actually start working on whatever goals you have created, then start right now. Create the plan and embrace the moment.
Rachel Velishek is a licensed professional clinical counselor with Fisher-Titus Behavioral Health, Fisher-Titus Medical Park 2, Suite C, 282 Benedict Ave., Norwalk. Her office can be reached at 419-668-0311. For more information on Fisher-Titus Behavioral Health, visit fishertitus.org/behavioral-health.