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Do You Have The Time To Be Healthy?

Written by: Chris Deavin, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Chris Deavin

One of the most common reasons I hear as a health coach for people needing to improve their health is the time they think it will take.

Hour glass on stones

Interesting thing time. As Gandalf told Frodo, “It’s not about the time you have, but what you do with the time that’s important” (if you are wondering, it’s a The Lord of the Ring thing).


So, how do you make time for more things? For things you are not currently doing?


I have just read ‘The Time Paradox’ by John Boyd & Phil Zimbardo. The following is the book description (which explains it better than I could);


Every significant choice, every important decision we make, is determined by our perception of time. This book will show how:

  • The way you perceive time is as unique as your fingerprints

  • These individual time perspectives shape your life and the world around you

  • You can change the way you perceive time so you get the most out of every minute

  • If you don’t, the power of time in the modern world is so immense that it will take its toll on you

The book describes three different ways we focus on time. You are either predominately past-focused, present-focused or future-focused.


In different aspects of your life, you can focus on each one, but overall, you will focus on time either on what happened to you in the past, what is happening to you currently and what you think will happen to you in the future.


Each time, focus can then either be positive or negative.


How you perceive time can dictate your beliefs, thoughts, habits and behaviours.


When it comes to your health, this can play a significant role in stopping what you are currently doing and making the necessary changes to see improvements.


If you have a past negative time focus, this might be a barrier to implementing new eating and exercise habits. If your experience of trying to get healthier is of eating tasteless food and aching muscles, then you might believe that it will be the same this time.


Someone with a past positive time focus might think that they did see some improvements last time they tried, so it’s worth giving it another chance, but do slightly differently this time around.


More past-focused people are less likely to plan ahead and take risks. This could lead to slow progress towards any goal, as they always weigh the pros and cons of changing without ever taking the leap of faith needed to discover and achieve something new.


If you have more of a present time focus person, you are more likely to focus on what you are currently doing and not allow what happened in the past or what might happen in the future dictate your actions today.


Present-focused people are more likely to care more for the people around them and put their needs second to people close to them. They are less likely to focus on goals too far into the future and are more likely to act impulsively.


The positive about their health is that they are more mindful of what they are doing now and what harm or good their actions are doing at the time.


The negative, though, is that they make health choices based on how they feel at the time without thinking of the long-term results.


For example, they are more likely to use certain vices to make them feel better right there and then, even though long-term it might be more harmful to their health mentally and physically.


The final group of people are more future-focused. These people are predominantly thinking of what their present actions will do to their future selves. They are very much into planning ahead and trying to predict the future outcome of their planning.


When it comes to their health, they know exactly what they need to do today to achieve what they want tomorrow. They understand that exercising regularly and eating better is required to be stronger and fitter as they grow older. They understand that the process determines the outcome.


They value time differently from past and present-focused people, believing there is no time to lose.


The negative side of this focus is that sometimes, future-focused people forget to focus on what their actions are doing to the people around them and become more self-focused on what’s important to them.


For anyone to truly achieve good health, you must have the proper support around you and get other people involved in your journey.


Future-focused people can learn a lot from past and present-focused people in how to learn from the past and how to live in the now.


If I use myself as an example, I am more future-focused when it comes to my health. I want to have a level of health, fitness and wellbeing that allows me to stay independent as I age. I know that is only achievable through planning for the future, following the proper process and staying focused on my end goal.


When it comes to my finances, though, I am more present-focused. I believe in the motto “work to live, not live to work”. I work and earn money so I can experience what life has to offer here and now.


Even though I also believe in “saving for a rainy day,” I am more impulsive with money than health. This belief and behaviour are down to a mix of focusing on my past and present experiences.


So what does this all mean in becoming healthier?


If you want to change your current health, you first must realise how you see time and what type of time you mainly focus on. If you are more past-focused, focus on the positive things that have happened to your health. This will help you make better decisions today, leading to a healthier future.


If you are more of a present-focused person, don’t commit to goals in the future and not try to make sacrifices that your impulsive nature can’t keep to long-term. Focus on the good habits and behaviours you need to do today, and don’t worry about trying to do them tomorrow.


A better approach each day suits you better than trying to be perfect.


If you are more of a future-focused person when it comes to your health, setting long-term goals is the way forward. You will find it hard to perform the repetitive actions that need to be done every day, as you will find it harder to focus on the job at hand and try to overcome the barriers other people throw up in front of you.


We should all strive to become more well-rounded regarding how we see time and our health.


We can and should use positive events from our past to show that what we want is possible, live in the moment and learn to enjoy the journey and our imperfections that occur every day, not be scared of the future and embrace the process and planning needed to keep moving forward in the right direction.


Only then can we truly have the right time to be healthy.


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Chris Deavin Brainz Magazine
 

Chris Deavin, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Chris has been a behavioural health coach for over 20 years, helping people change their lives through enhanced health and well-being. Through 1000s of hours of coaching, he has been able to identify the most effective strategies to enable people to successfully work through the process of change needed to achieve physical & mental vitality and wellness. Now specialising in health for the over 50s, his passion is helping people improve their health span and lifespan.

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