Do you believe in making New Years Resolutions? Or do you think they’re for other people because you know you’ll forget about them in a few weeks; or maybe as a perfectionist you know you’ll give up when you can’t meet your expectation as well as you’d like?
Even if we all gave them up and followed this one simple concept that helped change my life for the better, I am sure you’ll have a successful new year…maybe even phenomenal.
I don’t have anything against goals, in fact I love setting and achieving them, but I have found that the idea of my Future Self has been far more impactful in changing myself and my situation for the better. If you’ve never heard of this concept, it’s a simple yet effective positive mind shift to viewing yourself now as someone whose actions impact someone else—specifically, You in the future.
It is so effective because it creates mindfulness—that’s intentionality—around your actions.
Self improvement move over…self-care takes the cake! This exercise will also positively impact your self-concept; if you see yourself in the future as a friend you are trying to help out, you will feel glad not only as the future recipient, but also the thoughtful giver of whatever it is that will positively benefit your future self.
When I first heard of the concept three years ago, I was struggling immensely with exhaustion. I could barely rouse myself from the couch to get busy folding laundry at 10 a.m. I didn’t know all the details of my health issues—I’ll likely share that story on my Aim for a Healthy Life channel if you’re interested—but what I was painfully aware of was that I was falling short of even low expectations for productivity. My home was a mess, I was so overwhelmed, and when you’re that tired and low, it can be so hard to pull yourself up to functioning well again.
I was able to do that eventually with this daily thought, “Do one thing more than you think you can. Your future self will thank you.”
So some days I did the dishes in the sink for my future self, whom I knew would not want to wake up to a sink-full. Other days before bed, I spent 5 minutes before bed tidying up for my future self, whom I knew would feel happier looking around at a clean table and swept floor when starting the new day. When we travel, I actually do the dirty laundry and clean the house beforehand, because I know it will be nice to come home to that. My husband appreciates this a lot, too, because it is enough to deal with getting back into the routine and unpacking as it is.
This is a great way to support your New Years Health goals. When I would rather down a whole pint of Coconut Bliss ice-cream, the thought crosses my mind that my future self will really feel achey from all that sugar, so I put it back after a few bites. Previously too caught up in whatever I was doing all day to make myself exercise, after implementing this mind shift, I was walking 1 mile each day with my dog Kody. I know my future self (and my dog Kody) would appreciate the extra serotonin and lessened anxiety afterwards.
My whole youth and 20s I was a sworn non-morning person, but I’m now waking up often by 5 a.m. each morning, more well rested and motivated to achieve goals because I know my future self will relish the sense of accomplishment that comes with that discipline and the opportunity for uninterrupted creativity before every body else places demands on her. It still takes a decision—I don’t hop out of bed singing like Cinderella, but now I’m more motivated not to roll over and ignore the wakeup light.
How about you? What will you do for your Future Self today? Make your Future Self your new best friend and go crush your New Year’s goals!