Why do most people largely disregard their future? Why do we worry more about what might go wrong today, rather than reflect on what waits for us in our future life? Why do we spend more now, knowing that it will mean we have much less to spend in future? Do you care about your future self?
When working towards our goals, we need to mindful of and overcome the way we think about our future self. Otherwise our goals are at risk of becoming another New Years Eve wishlist.
Research has shown that when we stop to think about what our future self may look like, our brain fires in the same way that it would as when we first meet a stranger. Quite simply, our future self is a complete stranger to us, and we don’t like interacting with strangers.
We just don’t like thinking about our future selves.
Anyone who has had more than one hangover is evidence of this.
That’s probably why one of the hardest questions I can ask new clients is – where do you want to be in 10 years’ time? The responses are often in the third person – the kids are off my hands, or the mortgage has been paid off. We rarely respond with any personal insight into what our own lives will be like, and where our satisfaction & reward will come from.
The message? To overcome this – you have to find a way to get to know your future self.
Try thinking through your journey towards a future goal or imagining a loved one in your future, you’ll automatically be kinder to that version of your future self than you would this distant undefined stranger. That’s why we are such advocates of modelling out your future, to show you just what you are capable of over time with a little bit of focus & discipline. No one wants to miss out on the opportunity that life presents.
There are other reasons why we avoid committing to goals, but viewing our future self as a stranger is one of the most compelling. We will explore the other reasons in later articles.
Have you thought through where you are heading in the future so you can become familiar with your future self?