The alarm goes off. Eyes heavy, brain foggy, you muster the will to find the button to silence it before sitting up in bed. You exhale while trying to summon the energy to start your day. Knowing it's a rhetorical question you still ask yourself silently "Why did I stay up so late?".
We've all done this. Or a form of it. We make decisions based on the present instead of the future. We often put off things we should be doing, knowing full well we will have to pay the consequences further down the line. Its easier to eat something fast on the run than to sit down and cook a home made meal. It's much more comfortable to sit on the couch and watch TV than it is to exercise. Allowing yourself to react emotionally to a situation is much more difficult than being measured in your response. Our seemingly small daily choices have a profound effect on how we interface with the world.
For a moment please picture your Present and Future Self as two separate people. "Present Self" who we are all very familiar with, and "Future Self" who for some of us may have become a bit of an afterthought. How do you normally treat one vs the other? In most moments of our day we prioritize the Present Self. We treat our Present Self as our best friend in the world in that we automatically seek out whats easiest and most enjoyable for them. The present self speaks to us in very encouraging, some would say enabling, ways. The dialog with Present self goes something like this:
-Would you like to blow up at your loved ones? Sure go ahead! They may be angry at you tomorrow or less likely to come to you with their problems but man it will feel so good to blow off steam!
-Wanna run a 10k this weekend even though you haven't been exercising? You'll probably be unable to walk for a week because you haven't been training, but it's not our problem.
-Oh you're stressed from work? Well here have a bunch of sugar, you will feel better almost right away! You might be up all night tossing and turning and will wake up starving, grumpy and thirsty but thats Future Self's issue to deal with not ours.
Future Self is like that best friend that calls in at these pivotal moments to offer advice because they've already been there and done that. They're literally an older wiser us, we just have to be smart enough to listen to their advice. The wise Future Self talks to us like this:
-Do you want to wake up feeling energetic and happy tomorrow? You'd better get some extra sleep tonight.
-You want to finish that 10K run this fall? It's time to start carving out some training time now even though you have a lot going on.
-Listen I know mondays are stressful at work so make sure you have healthy food on hand for when you get home so we fill up on that instead of junk.
Today I remind you to also make friends with your Future Self and not just your present one. Make good decisions that affect your long term well being. Ask yourself if the action Im about to take has positive or negative consequences for my new friend "Future Self".