Want to accomplish more and actually like yourself more?
Live in the moment, and do a ton of favors for your Future Self.
Like, you’ve got to fall deeply, madly in-love with your Future Self. And it might be good to show some appreciation to your Former Self as well, because that person did a lot for you, and really cares for you.
I’m not telling you to live in the future. Living in the future sucks. Living in the future is when you try to guess what’s going to happen. You can only live in the present, so let yourself do that.
Don’t think of it as sacrificing now for the future. The future is far too vague an idea to sacrifice anything for.
Simply think how nice it will be to come across something Past You did for Present You. Love yourself. Love all your selves.
Give yourself a gift for the upcoming week. It can be anything – perhaps you’ve been holding off on actually starting a podcast – start now; record something; upload it somewhere; do it with the thought of how grateful you’ll be next week.
It’s just like doing a favor for someone else. But that someone happens to be Future You. You’re not losing yourself by pleasing others and doing what they want you to do. You’re showing love to yourself. And, because it’s fun to do things for people you care about, it doesn’t require discipline. Of course, if you have never given much thought of Future Self, or never been good at helping him/her out, it might take a little practice.
This seems silly, but it can help bridge the divide between your Present Self and your Future Self.
In a recent New York Times article the motivations behind procrastination were examined:
“We really weren’t designed to think ahead into the further future because we needed to focus on providing for ourselves in the here and now,” said psychologist Dr. Hal Hershfield, a professor of marketing at the U.C.L.A. Anderson School of Management.
Dr. Hershfield’s research has shown that, on a neural level, we perceive our “future selves” more like strangers than as parts of ourselves. When we procrastinate, parts of our brains actually think that the tasks we’re putting off — and the accompanying negative feelings that await us on the other side — are somebody else’s problem.
It’s all about recognizing, on an emotional and subconscious level, that your Present Self actually will become your Future Self. It’s a process of identifying with the reality of your Future Self. This is not an escapist idea, where you accept a vague fantasy in which your Future Self will be better-equipped to deal with the challenges of life, and that everything will just somehow fall into place for that person. Nor is it like dwelling on the future – feeling so worried about things out of your control, you end up punting on the things you can control.
I’m talking about living in the now, and realizing that the person you are right now can do a lot of really nice things for the eerily-similar person that will occupy your body and consciousness in the future. In many ways, the you right now is actually the one better equipped to get things done. And if Future You is going to get any help, present you is the best one to provide it.
Why do you think it’s called present you anyway?