Secret Weapon #3: Consider Future You

As humans, we are somewhat separated from other animals by our ability to plan ahead, to use forward thinking. By the fact we understand the concept of the future. Yet, it’s something we don’t utilise enough. 

This is not a new idea. We worry, “what if X happens?” and “how will I make that work?” But one of the most useful tools I use is considering the me-of-the-future and how she will think and feel. 

On one hand, I’ve seen this idea shared as “prepare your gym clothes the night before” but I want to take this one step further. I’m asking you to consider a) how future you will feel if you have your gym clothes all ready the next morning, and b) how you will feel (and act) if you have to get those clothes out first thing.

Essentially, we can summarise this secret weapon into one question-style mantra…

Will this decision piss off future-me?

You can word it positively too, of course, but avoiding the negative tends to be a stronger motivation for most of us. If I know my actions, behaviour, and decisions will cause me pain, disappointment or frustration in a few days time… I’m a hell of a lot more likely to reconsider my options now. 

If I eat this entire bag of sweets, will the me-in-2-hours curled up in pain be cursing me-of-now? 

What about if I stay up late tonight? Future me will be in the meeting at 10am trying to look awake and concentrate… 

What about the me-at-the-end-of-November who wishes now-me had plotted out the book I will spend November writing? 

Essentially, we’re asking “If I don’t plan this story out now, will I regret it?” But visualising future-you and how they will feel, what they will think of the decision you’re about to make… just gives it more ‘oomph.’

I don’t want to disappoint myself. Or feel like I had an win-win option and didn’t take it out of laziness or boredom… or out of just not thinking it through.

 

Consider how future you will feel.

This is the entire weapon at work: Don’t piss off future-you.

But the thought is just half of it. Actions are important too.

Do ‘the things’ now so that you set yourself up later. If you don’t what action to take, then your action is probably to dig deep beneath your desires, your image of you-reinvented, in order to determine if and where the path forward is.

For me, it’s can be doing the washing up before bed so I’m not annoyed trying to eat cereal off a plate the next morning.

This is a huge tool for reinvention, for making any change and moving towards a goal. 

Think about what your future-self would think, feel or do. And imagine him or her thinking about today’s choices.

Again, you can do this in a positive frame if that works better for you: future-me will be so glad I prepared a salad for tomorrow’s lunch. I’m going to be so relieved, I’m going to love the taste and texture, and feel smug next to my colleague with her boring sandwich. Whatever works for you, this is a fuel we can always use.

 

Find what works for you. 

I’m not saying you comment out loud; and gloating about your salad is just not cool… But the things we can be grateful for in our heads are only going to strengthen our internal motivation. And when we feel motivated, we feel energised. 

And I for one want more energy. I want to feel in control of my life. And I want to achieve my goals.

Don’t you?

 


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