Do you eat unhealthy food when you know it is not good for you? Or are there things you do today that are not contributing to you achieving what you want in the future. This could be because there is an empathy gap between our current selves and our future selves. We view our future self similar to a stranger. This is stated as a reason why we are not taking more action on climate change as we feel disconnected from what life may be like in the future.
“Your future needs you more than your past”
Step 5 – Visualise your future
So how do we connect with our future selves? Through the power of visualization. We underestimate the power of visualization. Forming a picture of your future self in your mind can help you achieve it. This is something that is used in sport, many athletes visualize sports events down to the small details to help them prepare for competing.
Learn more about Visualisation HERE
Visualizing the future that you want puts you in a positive frame of mind. This is achieved as your mind is focused on success by imagining that you have already achieved what you intend to do. Visualizing a situation where your goal is already a reality enables you to connect with your future self. For example, if you want to write a book, imagine you have already written it.
When imagining your future self it is best to be specific with as much detail as possible engaging all your senses so you can see it, smell it, hear it, feel it and taste it. You can close your eyes and visualize it in your head or write it down. Clearer you can be on who you will be in the future will make it easier to achieve.
Think of these different elements as ingredients to your future self.
- Career – What type of work are you doing? Do you enjoy it? What do you enjoy about it?
- Financial – How much do you earn? What lifestyle do you have?
- Intellectual – What skills and knowledge do you have?
- Family / Love – What does your personal life look like?
- Social / Friends – What relationships do you have?
- Creatively – Is there anything you want to create / problem you want to solve.
- Behaviors – How do you behave? What are your characteristics?
- Health – What does your health look like?
- Pleasure – How do you enjoy yourself?
- Public Service / Community – Is what you do meaningful?
- Environment / Location – Where do you want to live and what does that look like?
- Emotions – Are you happy? What makes you happy? What do you do or not do to make you happy?
You may think it is strange to imagine your future self, however, people do regularly daydream about themselves achieving a goal or doing something. The ideas suggested above are about harnessing this to help you achieve your goals. Interestingly imagining yourself doing an action can train your body almost as much as doing the actual action. Find out more about the Science HERE.
It may be difficult to imagine yourself 5 or 10 years into the future. Try imagining what you hope to achieve in a week’s time, then a month, then a year’s time from there until you define where you want to be in the future.
Step 6 – Break your goal down into steps
Once you have an understanding of what success looks like, then the next part is to break it down into specific, measurable and attainable goals.
Every human action is driven by an end, so the clearer you can be on what that goal is will help you in achieving it. Make them simple but significant, clear and meaningful
People are motivated by progress so having more than three goals can make it challenging to move forward on multiple fronts. Three goals can provide enough variety while maintaining the feasibility of attaining these goals in a timely manner.
Then set a time frame of when you want to achieve your goal. Three months gives enough time to progress on an objective but is not too long that you put off working on it. This time period requires breaking larger objectives into milestones that lead up to your overall goal. Three months is also a familiar period of time to work on goals in the business world.
Success rarely happens overnight, so refuse to stay discouraged, you may experience low moments. However, try to be consistent, learn from failure, and make adjustments.
Step 7 – Build a support network
Our identity comes from the story we tell about ourselves. Typically those stories are based on what we have done in the past or what we are doing. However, if you tell people about your future self, then your behavior will be driven by your future and not your past.
You may feel embarrassed sharing your honest goals, however when you talk about your goals you will feel compelled to act. This is because you have created a social contract, it is easy to not follow through on your goals if nobody knows about them.
One unexpected benefit when you share your goals with people is that you will receive unexpected help, support, and encouragement. As humans we want to help others, so if people can help they will. A lot of opportunities come up in informal networks so by letting people know your goals you increase the likelihood that people will help you if they know someone or hear of something that could help. Most of us are underutilizing our networks in looking for opportunities.
You can also find people that have the same passions and you can support each other in the journey.
Step 8 – Act like your future self
To become your future self, it is best to start acting like your futureself. This involves removing contradictions. How we spend our time today leads to who we will be in the future, the small steps you take today will take you closer to your goals.
If you want to be healthy in the future, then start eating healthy today. If you want to work in a particular field, what is the one thing you can do to start you on that path today?
In modern life, there are many distractions and we can spend our time in activities that are not contributing to our goals such as endlessly scrolling through our phones. It is important that you are mindful of what content you are consuming as this will contribute to you achieving your goal. So think about how much of the things you read, and listen to, as well as the people you surround yourself with are contributing to you becoming your future self.
You become what you consume
If you want to become healthy, have you created an environment that supports you in becoming healthy? Are the people you are spending time with healthy? Are you consuming content about how to get healthy? This principle is similar to the saying you are what you eat and when it comes to the knowledge you will become what you consume.
A lot of technology is designed to capture our attention and keep us addicted using behavioral science. This is illustrated by Netflix founder Reed Hasting saying that there are only a certain amount of hours which humans can tend to activities, and Netflix’s goal is to occupy those moments. Their intention is to deliver quality entertainment, however in the grand scheme of things they are distracting you from your goals like many of our apps.
We can dedicate a lot of our time on things that are urgent which means we don’t alway dedicate enough time on things that are important but not urgent. Long-term goals are an example of something that is important but not necessarily urgent.
Make working on your future self a habit, adopting the mindset of consistency over intensity so take a small step. If your goal matters to you, make the time to achieve it.
Design Your Future Steps
- Step 1 – Believe you will be different in the future
- Step 2 – Get to know yourself
- Step 3 – Exploring different versions of yourself for inspiration
- Step 4 – Understand your future with small experiments
- Step 5 – Visualize your future
- Step 6 – Break goal down into steps
- Step 7 – Build a support network
- Step 8 – Act like you future self
Check out part 1 HERE
What is the one thing I can do to start working on my goals