Building Our Future with our Moment-to-Moment Decisions

“The future is always beginning now.” ~Mark Strand

Thinking too far ahead or too far behind has never really served me. Maybe you feel the same way or have started to get an inkling that it is not working out for you either.

Until fairly recently, I was spending a good deal of my time gazing back on my life, doubting and scrutinizing the decisions I had made.

When I wasn’t doing this, I kept busy by viewing my future through rose-tinted spectacles, making grand plans, and envisioning a “whole new me,” when in fact a “whole new me” wasn’t something I particularly wanted.

It started to become stressful and quite frankly exhausting, living my life in every time zone but now, so I started to look for a solution.

Where did I do this? The past and the future. I mean, for goodness sake!

I wracked my brains for something I had done or heard before that may be useful, and scanned my future goals to see if I could locate some new idea that I could action, probably in a few months’ time when I had worked up the courage to affect some change.

While casually surfing my favorite websites one day, I stumbled across a video that had been posted by one of my favorite yoginis, exploring the power of conscious awareness.

It has been an absolute revelation.

I have to be honest—the concept of conscious awareness was not something especially new to me.

I bring conscious awareness to my yoga mat, but somewhere between my yoga mat and the door, its powers are weakened as I become susceptible to the indulgences and distractions of the modern world.

It was the idea of taking that moment-to-moment awareness off the mat and applying it to every aspect of our day-to-day living.

Having watched this video a good three or four times in a row, drinking in every word, I felt a great sense of relief. This was the answer, and it had been within me all along, in every single moment of my life.

The power of conscious awareness, if we open our hearts to it and allow it the space, flows gracefully through our every waking moment.

We can continue to exist with the intention of “beginning tomorrow” or, we can choose actively, in each and every second we are given.

For me, this has had a tremendous impact in many different ways, but especially in my relationship to food.

The diet will no longer begin on Monday, and the possibility of just one more cookie has actually become an opportunity for active participation in my life and my future.

The only time in which we truly have the luxury of choice is this one. For example, if you were not enjoying my article, now would be the time to decide to stop reading. (Please don’t—it gets better, I promise.)

This conscious intention, when used in the present moment, is potent and ripe with the possibility of a greater existence, one that is rooted in everyday presence and mindful consideration of the here and now.

Knowing what is going to happen in the future, whether that be tomorrow, next year, or over the course of your five-year plan (yes, I had one of those) is not a gift that any of us really possesses.

At this stage you may be thinking, well, surely plans for the future need to be made, and yes, you are right. But we should try to make them loosely and with a hint of non-attachment.

Where we have the real opportunity to build the future we so desire is in this very moment. What we choose to do, right here and now, is the only sure fire way to achieve our goals and dreams.

Presently, one of my main goals is to lose a bit of weight (weight that I like to refer to as “love chub” because I gained it by enjoying too much of the wrong food with my husband).

I was really struggling with the way I was eating—not much during the day and then way too much in the evening before bed, and it really took its toll.

When hungry, I would reach for whatever was closest, and this usually took the form of fast food rather than food cooked at home, with love.

Sure, I knew better, but in that second I barely knew I knew and gave it absolutely no thought at all—until afterward. That’s when the guilt and eater’s remorse kicked in.

Now, I choose to choose. When I hear that little egotistical voice in the back of my head pipe up and start insisting on french fries, I stop. I listen to that voice and then I take it upon myself to consider my options.

It is in that moment of conscious awareness that the magic really happens.

Remember, this can be adapted to be of use to you in any situation. Mundane daily tasks, like washing the dishes, can be transformed.

Rather than thinking no, I can’t be bothered to do that now, take a moment and consider how nice it will be to come down in the morning to a sparkling kitchen.

It may just change your mind. It may just make your life more pleasant altogether.

With the application of conscious awareness in our lives, we can take those all-important baby steps, day by day, moment to moment, until one day, possibly without even noticing, we think, hey, I’m here, I actually did it.

That is the future we should be trying to build—one built on a solid foundation of conscious decisions that will benefit us and our paths ahead.

Photo by feli*

About Genevieve Maxted-Tidy

Genevieve Maxted-Tidy is the founder of Beautifully Organic for Life in the UK, offering organic life coaching for Women and holistic website design. She is also the creator of The Oval Table Virtual Women’s Community, launching on 1st July 2013. Get her latest E-Book, 20 Steps to Optimum Health and Productivity, for free when you subscribe to her newsletter.

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  • Take care of the now and the future will take care of itself, stop thinking with regret of past mistakes and without the worry for the future, it’s this moment we find time for reflection and realise what we could, maybe should be doing. Thank you for the reminder

  • Stephanie Eller

    Great article, great points made. It reminds me of a Lao Tzu quote: “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
    I’ve recently started going to yoga, but it’s about the waking only hour of the week that I feel at peace so I’d love for that to carry over outside the yoga studio.
    Any chance you could post a link to that video on conscious awareness? I’d be interested to check that out too. Thanks for writing!

  • TB at

    WOW, that Lao Tzu quote is insane. It’s so simple and yet, it’s incredibly true!! Jeez. Sums up this post nicely too.

  • Hi Healthy Lifestyles (sorry, I could not see your name 🙂 ) I am so pleased my article served as a reminder for you and thank you for sharing with me those beautiful insights. Genevieve.

  • Thank you so much for sharing that beautiful quote Stephanie. That is exactly it! I am so happy to hear your Yoga practice is bringing you peace. It has a habit of doing that 🙂 I would be delighted to share the video with you, please email me ~ beautifullyorganicforlife(at)outlook(dotcom) and I will send you the link over. In the meantime, I will check if I can post the link on here for everyone 🙂 Sending you sunshine <3

  • lizacat

    This message is just what I needed to hear now. I have had some stressful situations in my life, and both past mistakes and an uncertain future is much on my mind as I try to make decisions. As you and Stephanie mentioned, that immersion in yoga is a lifeline that sometimes is all that keeps me sane. Staying in the moment and making just one mindful, conscious decision at a time is about the only thing that sounds do-able to me at the moment. Thank you for the post and also thank you for the video information, I am going to email you also with a request for that link.

  • Dear Beth – thank you for your message – I am so moved that my article has resonated with you. Just being mindful of each moment is such a great way to remain present and focused and please know that you are supported in your journey. Remember, uncertainty is an opportunity for great change and growth, feel empowered and go for it <3

  • Vanessa Hdez.

    <3 great!

  • So glad you liked my article Vanessa – sending you sunshine <3

  • Kevin Black

    Long time reader, first time commenter… Fantastic article! I am a “planner” as well, but like many people, I struggle with getting started. It’s often tomorrow, next week, etc… I really like this concept of living in the present moment. I like the idea of not regretting the past (while still learning from it) and not worrying too much about the future (plan, but be open). But I have still found that getting from the present to the desired future to be elusive. Your article helped me see it from a new perspective that finally connected the dots! I can make my plans, remaining open to shifting circumstances, and use mindfulness of the present moment to refocus myself to act on those goals a little bit every day. Thank you!

  • Wow, Kevin, thank you so much for your comment – I am so honoured to be the first article that you have commented on! To know my words have had such an impact on your life, really warms my heart and makes me so so glad. The only time we truly have is now and it is what we do with those moments that count – even if you decide to do nothing – you are still working towards your goals even just by thinking about them – by dreaming our dreams, we bring them ever closer. Sending you sunshine!

  • Kevin Black

    You’re quite welcome.

    There is a lot of literature about how to set goals in life and work towards them. The concept of being mindful of the present moment is new to me, and at first I thought it meant putting aside both the past and future to focus only on the present. So essentially, I thought those were opposing concepts (planning ahead vs. mindfulness of now). I never realised that they actually intersected or complemented each other so much.

    Don’t get too far ahead of me though – those plans haven’t turned into action just yet! 😉

  • Hanna

    WOW! This is a really greaat article so enlightening and inspiring !

  • I am so happy you liked my article Hanna – sending you warmth x

  • Kayla

    Ok, but if you think ahead to the sparkly clean dishes you might have, your living in the possible future! Not in the moment. Great article, I’m just confused