If you want to be happy make your future-self happy

While doing my research the other day I found a small mistake in one of my Excel spreadsheets. I tracked it down, realized that it was a minor issue with no impact on the results. Yet, it had to be corrected in several other spreadsheets because of future calculations. Relieved to find out that the mistake was insignificant, I thought (or, should I say, my monkey mind proposed): “That’s fine. I can fix this some other time.”

But then I remembered this great advice (thank you, Gretchen Rubin):

“If you want to be happy, make your future-self happy.”

Will my future-self be more diligent in fixing the mistakes that my today-self can fix right now? Probably not. Will my future-self be happy to work with neat and correct spreadsheets? Hell yes. It was obvious what I should do next. (And I did it. It took me only 5 minutes.)

This is the perfect tweak in balancing our orientation towards the future and staying grounded in the present moment.

Here’s the catch. We are imagining our future-self as a confident, superior person, that exercises every day and does not bite her nails. We have romantic, idealistic visions of our future-selves, so much so that we easily forget that the future-self is actually… us, only tomorrow. And if we don’t do something to support tomorrow-self, he or she will only be more nervous and distracted than today-self.

Our future-selves are built today, at this very moment. Thinking in that way will help you put your choices, actions, and habits in the right perspective.

Feeling too lazy to wash the dishes? Think about your future-self. She would probably be happy to walk into the clean kitchen the next morning.

Don’t want to deal with some email correspondence? Then your future self will have to. Open up space for her to do more important things.

Flossing? Yes, please. Your future self would love to have healthy teeth.

Exercise? Absolutely. It might be a bit uncomfortable you, but your future-self will have much more energy.

If you binge cooking on Sunday afternoon, your future-self will enjoy healthy meals and open schedule throughout the week.

Seeds you are planting today will sprout for your future self. The mess you make today, your future self will have to clean. Everything you do now is the investment in life and happiness of your future-self. So what do you want for her?

In the comments below let me know what will you do today to make your future-self happy. I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Before you go

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