What would you wish you had changed earlier?

It’s the day of the return appointment. Deep down this day has been on your mind for a long time. You know something is wrong but you aren’t exactly sure what it is and what the implications are for you. You sit in the doctor’s waiting room, as always they are running late and there are two more people in front of you to be seen. Every time you see your doctor come out to get the next client you are looking for clues in their facial expression, while the doctor’s thoughts may be on something other than you you conclude that the way they moved their eyebrows means it’s bad news.

You sit there and read a mindless magazine article and then you watch the clock, every tick drags on and time is passing very slowly.  After what seems like an eternity the doctor calls your name, again you are looking for clues but the doctor is giving nothing away, although you do read into the fact that they haven’t been too friendly. You go into their office and take a seat, as you sit down you notice that there’s comfort in being in your doctor’s room. The family photos, the pictures their kids have drawn, their qualifications on the wall all give you a sense that you are in trusted hands. These thoughts get interrupted with your doctor saying words that you hope you wouldn’t hear, ‘Sorry to say this but I have bad news’ they go on to tell you that you only have one month to live. 

The above situation would be a horrible one to experience and hopefully it’s one that you will never have to face. While it must be the worst thing to have to go through it’s interesting to explore what thoughts would happen after this moment. Let’s say that the doctor talked you through your illness and explained that your sickness may have been - in part - caused by certain lifestyle choices that you had made over the years.  

If you were in this situation what choices would you instantly regret and would have changed a long time ago had you known they would cause this much damage? Would it be the way you drink? A smoking habit? Your nutrition choices? Your stress levels? The lack of exercise in your life? 

For many of us, there have been times in our lives where we know that our behaviours are damaging and we should change them, but we don’t.  But when the failure point hits us we instantly wonder why we haven’t done anything about them earlier. While we are maintaining these behaviours we can live in denial of what the cost could be of having them, then when that cost hits us we wish that we had addressed the behaviours a lot earlier.  

Do you have any areas in your life that if you were hit with that failure point you would wish you had done something about it a lot earlier? If you do it might be a worth spending time trying to find the motivation to change. What’s interesting is that often people who go past their failure point suddenly, and easily, find the motivation to change their behaviour. It’s the smoker who has smoked for years that gets told by their doctor that they will die if they don’t stop. Often this person can give up smoking straight away. The failure point can lead to the change in motivation. While it’s good that the change happens at that time, wouldn’t it be better if you were able to shift the behaviour before it became a failure point that could have a massive cost in your life? 

We can always point to people who have overcome bigger problems than the ones we have experienced in life. While everyone has a different way of dealing with this the one thing these people all share is the motivation to shift away from what was holding them back. No change will happen if you aren’t motivated to create it but any change can happen when you have the right motivation driving you. 

If you have behaviours that you live with but you know will eventually come at a cost that is extremely high, maybe the first step in you creating a shift is to devote quality time to finding that trigger that will give you the fire of motivation. By doing this you will be leading yourself away from your failure point and towards a healthier life for yourself and decrease the chances of that doctor’s visit - that one that would definitely change your life. 


This piece orginally appeared in The Press


If you enjoy my pieces you can get them emailed to you when I put them on the internet. This way you won't have to come back to my website to check when a new piece is out. Don't worry I won't spam you. If you want to join up just put your details in here:


Bevan Eyles