How to Plan for the Future While Living in the Present


“I see the future, but live for the moment — makes sense, don’t it?” You don’t have to be Pitbull to see the wisdom in these lyrics from “Feel This Moment.” 


Human beings face a unique conundrum in the animal kingdom. Anticipation about what may come can disturb your sense of calm, even when you’re otherwise safe, warm and well-fed. Here’s how you can plan for the future while living in the moment and enjoy greater peace of mind. 

1. Take Care of Your Health


Maybe you’ve heard the saying, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.” These words ring true, particularly in the United States, where soaring costs cause countless bankruptcies each year. Those who can’t afford to take the credit hit, often because they are the sole or primary breadwinner, often go without the care they need. 


Unfortunately, as long as people have to decide between paying rent, eating and obtaining health services, triage will demand a roof and food first. However, even if you are one of the many who can’t afford to see a doctor, either because you lack health coverage or can’t afford your copays and deductibles, you can protect yourself through preventative care. 


Preventative care encompasses things like giving up unhealthy behaviors, like smoking, while participating in beneficial ones like exercising and eating healthy foods. You should also know that you can get many routine screenings for free. It’s understandable to skip a test if you can’t afford to fix any problems doctors may find, but you can also reverse some conditions like pre-diabetes through lifestyle changes. 


How much movement do you need? The World Health Organization recommends 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of more vigorous activity weekly. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to get to 10,000 steps daily. Recent research published by the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that health benefits level out after 7,500 paces. 


Nor do you need to go crazy obsessing over the latest diet fad. Instead, focus on eliminating unhealthy foods and replacing them with more nutritious alternatives. 


  • Instead of sugary colas: Sip on flavored fruit water sweetened with stevia or monk fruit. Adding pineapple and other fruits lets you take advantage of nutrients like bromelain without adding extra calories. 
  • Instead of processed meats: Look for lunch meat that isn’t smoked or cured, which can raise your colon cancer risks. A plain cooked chicken breast makes a tasty lunch sandwich alternative.
  • Instead of french fries or chips: Nosh on healthy alternatives.  Mixed nuts taste salty but are actually high in potassium, which lowers blood pressure. They also contain minerals like magnesium and selenium, which improve mood. 


2. Manage Your Money Wisely


As long as the dollar continues to exist, it will cause undue stress when you don’t have enough greenbacks. Angst from financial worries poisons every aspect of your life and can even cause premature death. Research out of Australia shows that chronic tension can rewire your brain to keep your blood pressure high, increasing cardiovascular risks. 


Sit down with your bank statements and make a monthly budget. Many financial institutions categorize your purchases for you, simplifying the process. Then, start identifying ways to cut back without pain. It’s one thing to give up a daily latte habit — but never allowing yourself a Unicorn Frappe will leave you feeling deprived. Keep it to a weekly treat. 


Look for ways to supplement your income. If your paycheck doesn’t cut it, you may have no choice but to start a paid side hustle. However, wages aren’t keeping pace with inflation, and you could still find yourself falling further behind despite your best efforts no matter how hard you work. 


Use whatever time you have leftover to build a residual income stream. It might take years to write a book, build a successful YouTube channel or design a product, but once you complete the task, you can sit back and make money in your sleep. 

3. Keep Exploring New Interests


Remember your teachers telling you that learning is a lifelong process? Regularly conquering something new helps to sharpen your memory, boost your self-confidence and become a positive example for your kids. 


The best part? Thanks to technological advances, you no longer need to enroll in a costly degree program. You can find courses on anything from coding javascript to animal reiki on sites like Udemy, and the price tag often rings in at $20 or less. Nor has your local library closed — they may even offer curbside pickup for your pandemic convenience. 

4. Honor Those Closest to You


Few people look back on their deathbed and say, “I wish I had spent more time at work.” However, many regret not spending more time with those they love. 


Your relationships make your life worth living. Take the time to honor those you love the most. Tell your partner and children you love them before turning into bed at night and leaving for work in the morning. Play hooky for a day and have a movie marathon together — cherish the memories. 

5. Take Time to Smell the Roses


Too often, people feel stressed over what they don’t have instead of appreciating what they do. Your life doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. 


Remember — it’s okay to just be. You weren’t put here just to labor for someone else, pay bills and die. You’re here to enjoy as many moments of each spin around the sun as you can. Slow down and savor your lunch instead of eating it at your work desk. Spend five minutes admiring your fragrant flowers. 

Plan for the Future While Living in the Present


You need to prepare for what’s to come, but dwelling in the unknown steals the joy from the here and now. Follow the tips above to plan for the future while living in the present.

Kara Reynolds
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. A mom of four and matriarch to her big blended family, Kara wants nothing more than to normalize differences in family structures. She enjoys peeing alone, pancakes, and pinot noir - but not at the same time.

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