I recently had a class in which our topic and discussion revolved around grief, death, and loss. The professor explained that while this could often be a subject considered taboo, it was something that everyone was going to experience in his or her life. It was something that should be explored and confronted. He went on to assert that every day needs to be cherished, and you should change yourself to be the person you want to be remembered as.

“When you are driving in your car, do you look through your rearview mirror to drive forward? Give this a try when you get home, and let me know how it goes,” he joked.

He explained that we look through the front windshield to move forward. The rearview mirror is there for glancing, a way to check on where you’ve been, what might be coming, and how to make a better decision. It’s the same way with life. We need to look forward in order to move forward. We can’t change where we have been, but we can certainly steer our car in a new direction.

Now, I don’t think this was the first time I had been introduced to this analogy, but for some reason this time it really made me reflect. It’s really difficult sometimes to move away from the people we are and habits we have. It’s easier to maintain the course we have had for so long.

There is always a new day, though. There is always a chance to stop and say, “I have this moment to either reflect on what was, or what could be.”

This, of course, can be applied to the way we treat others and the morals we have in our lives, but it is also relevant to our health. It’s important to hear yourself say: “I have the choice to take care of myself from this moment on. I have the choice to eat well, see my doctor, exercise, stop smoking, and reduce the stress in my life. I can let myself remain in the lifestyle that my past has produced, or I can design a new existence for myself…and it can all begin at this very moment.”

So, next time you’re driving, take a glance back in that mirror. Are you happy with where you’ve been? Most importantly, where are you going next?