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Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda…don’t dwell on the past – it’s never too late to change for the better!

If you could turn the clock back 10 or twenty years, what would you change?  While we really shouldn’t dwell on the past, we can certainly learn from our mistakes and make the decision to change patterns that seem to repeat themselves when it comes to our lifestyle choices.

For a heart attack survivor the answer to the above question is often that they would have taken better care of themselves.  Smokers wish they would have quit a lot sooner or never started in the first place.  Obese people wish they would have eaten better and exercised from an early age.  People with premature wrinkling or skin cancer will wonder how different things would be if they would have stayed out of the sun.  These are just a few examples…the list is endless.  So, how does this help us if the so-called damage has already been done?  Well, just think, in ten or twenty years from today, you could be asking the same question, but this time you might not have any regrets!

How exciting is that:  to be aging and be healthier as the years pass; to have your weight under control; to be free from self-imposed coronary risk factors; to have a strong, functional body and be able to do everything you ever wanted to do – even ten or twenty years ago.

I worked with a heart attack survivor recently and asked the client afterwards, how they felt psychologically.  I was wondering if they were grateful, if they made a promise to themselves to get healthier or if perhaps, instead, felt self-pity.  The answer was that they felt lucky.  The client said it was a wake up call and they knew they couldn’t wait any longer.

If you have ever felt like you were given a second chance for any number of reasons, act on your gratefulness.  Don’t wait until the feeling subsides and life distracts you from what is important.  Seize the moment.  Instead of sinking back into unhealthy habits and patterns, decide that you are going to change your life for the better.

If you have just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes it is not too late to make lifestyle changes that will positively affect your disease and its progression.  It is not too late to get your weight under control.  It is not too late to learn how to eat properly or how to exercise.  The trick is to seek information and guidance from your doctor, and then set the wheels into motion.  See yourself as a healthy person, and plan how you are going to get there.

We all have regrets about past choices/decisions/habits that have impacted us negatively.  It is what you do with the knowledge you have gained from the situations within your control that can propel you into happiness and wellbeing.  We can not change the past but we can start to make positive changes TODAY that will make us healthier and happier in the future.  Self-loathing, excuses and blame do nothing to change us from today and onward.  Make the decision to move forward and know that in ten or twenty years you will be happy that you did this. Lifestyle related health and wellness does not crash and burn overnight so get rid of any ideas that lifestyle problems should reverse quickly, give it time…you have the rest of your life to enjoy!

Nina Heyes



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