Every decision we make today affects us down the road. I suppose everyone understands that, but I don't believe we stop to really think about that.
It's because we're so very human. We live in a fast-paced society — always rushing to get to the next place or finish the next task. We often have trouble projecting what our "right now" is going to do to us later on. For many, living in the "right now" is a minute-by-minute struggle to just survive.
In terms of health, that means mindlessly participating in behaviors that we know are harmful, whether it's smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol or eating too much sugary and fattening foods.
While I don't advocate ever picking up a cigarette or illicit drugs, I don't think we should completely count out comfort foods or the occasional sugary or alcoholic drink. The problem arises when our choice of food and drink begin to control us. They're at the centerpiece of celebrations and are used as a "cure" for stress.
Those habits contribute to what we incorrectly believe sneak up on us later. No, they don't sneak up on us. For many illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease and even decayed teeth, it may take years of poor habits before they manifest.
That's why every day counts. As long as we're walking, talking and breathing, we have a chance to turn things around. Be thankful if you don't have symptoms of a chronic illness. Show gratitude by replacing a bad habit with a good one.
This is an important revelation for me, as I'm guilty of putting things off because I'm busy, overwhelmed or tired.
I have said, "But I will next week," or "After this weekend …" I'm sure I'm not the only one. You've probably thought about eating better "on Monday" or finally getting serious about weight loss on Jan. 1.
My challenge to you and to myself is to put every bite and every sedentary moment into perspective, because one day, Monday or Jan. 1 may be too late.