The philosophy of time is confusing; time is constantly ticking away, there are no instants, and yet we live entirely within the 'now', with only memories of what has already happened, and no true foresight of what has not yet come to pass.
You don't need to lose too much sleep over this paradox, but it's useful to imagine that what feels like the present is not an actual 'thing' at all, but a continually moving dividing line between your history and your future.
Make the right decisions, and your future will be better than your past; make the wrong decisions, and the good parts of your life are literally history.
So, how do you best prepare yourself for a brighter future? The answer to that is as unique as your personal circumstances, but there are certainly some common areas to take a close look at before you decide whether to make a change.
You won't have direct control over everything in your life, such as money and health, but you can take steps to give yourself better indirect control of these.
Be confident in your job, and you can avoid being taken for a ride; if you are promised a promotion and do not get it, lodge a formal complaint, or refuse to carry out additional tasks beyond your contracted hours.
As long as you continue to do your job under the terms of your contract, your employer should not be able to punish you; you may earn the necessary respect to receive your pay rise after all, and the worst that can happen in most cases is that you do not receive that promotion that they were not going to give you anyway.
Be committed in your healthy actions and activities, too - sell your games console, iPad and other gadgets that fuel a sedentary lifestyle, and get out in the fresh air for a run, or even just for a brisk walk.
Spend the evenings out for a stroll beneath the sunset, and you'll naturally cut down on your alcohol intake by avoiding the pub or that open bottle of wine in your fridge at home.
If smoking is your vice, try to spend more time in places that are difficult to leave for a cigarette, such as in the middle of the crowd at a gig, or at the cinema where you do not smoke for the full duration of the film.
Most of all, whatever action or decision you take, remember to view it as the turning point - so that although your future is brighter, there is also a section of your past, of that part of your life story that you know, that you can look at as proof that the decision you made was a positive one for the long term.
About Alan Gawthorpe
I believe in the healthfulness of striking the right balance; I have a TV, a computer and a smartphone, but I decided to sell my two iPads, web-connected games console and some other online devices, and now blog about how taking similar actions can help others to recover from the stresses of the digital age.