I have an old friend that needs to make some changes in the way he lives. He doesn’t exercise and his diet consists mostly of fast food (LOTS of it). As a consequence, he’s obese, his energy is low, he gets sick a lot, and his marriage isn’t exactly on fire.
We’ve had many conversations (and even times of prayer) about his health, the way he eats, and small changes he could make to lose weight and improve his quality of life.
Over the years, he has made zero changes.
The tragedy of the situation doesn’t end with simply being overweight. It doesn’t take super powers to be able to see into his future. He’s headed for a mobility scooter, a heart attack, family members having to take care of him, or maybe worse.
Maybe a close encounter with death will inspire him to change. Maybe it will motivate him to eat a salad and go for a walk. Unfortunately, for many people, it takes a major crisis to get them to discipline themselves and start adjusting their lives to reflect what they SAY they value (health, family, finances, etc.)
Change is hard. We spend a long time developing unhealthy habits and they’re super tough to break. We usually don’t change until the pain of staying the way we are is greater than the pain we’ll endure changing the way we live.
The best time to make a change is before you need to.
Don’t wait until you’re $10,000 in credit card debt to change your spending habits, don’t wait until your wife leaves you to change the way you relate to her, and don’t wait until you have a heart attack before you change the way you eat.
If you saw a steamroller headed down the road toward you, you wouldn’t wait until your shoelaces were under it to get out of the way. That would be foolish! Yet, we pretty much do the same thing with our health, relationships, etc. We live in denial about the cause and effect of our decisions and then beg God for help when the self-imposed bomb drops.
Proverbs 22:3 says, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.“
I think it’s important to do some self-evaluation on a regular basis. Ask yourself, “If I keep doing what I’m doing, where will I be in five years?” Or more specifically, “If I keep eating/entertainment binging/spending/parenting/leading/working the way that I do, where will I be in five years?”
Once you’ve figured out where you need to change, start moving in that direction. You don’t have to train for a triathlon, but you can start taking the stairs and maybe cutting out that second dessert. Set small goals you can keep and get back in the saddle when you fall off your horse.
The best time time to make a change is before you need to. Start making them now. It’s prudent, It’s wise, and it will save you massive amounts of unnecessary heartache in the inevitable future.