Five Things That, If You Do Now, Your Future Self Will Thank You For

Ask yourself a series of thought-provoking questions.

Max Phillips
Mar 4 · 5 min read
Photo by Alex Knight on Unsplash

At what point does the present transition into the future?

It may be exactly five years from now, but it won’t feel like the future. It will just become your present. There is no real transition phase — it just happens. Because there is no discernible meeting point, the future can feel far, far away. It might be tempting to shift unpleasant tasks off to your future self.

Soon, every “I’ll do it tomorrow” takes its toll. You may find yourself shaking a self-righteous fist, cursing your previous laziness.

It all starts with the actions you take now. The more proactive, improvement-based steps you implement in your current present, the more manageable your future-present will feel.

Start by doing these five things.

Begin Working on a Legacy Worthy of a Statue

When I was a kid, Sunday league football was my life. If we won, I was elated. If we lost, I was devastated. Most importantly, I loved playing.

My coach was my idol. On the outside, he was just a teammate’s father, but he was also our leader. He was kind, a calming presence, yet tough when he needed to be. It was what a bunch of loud teenagers needed to become a winning football team. While those times have passed, his leadership qualities are what I’ll remember him for. He’s someone I would follow.

When looking at your life, make sure you become someone you would follow. Pick the traits that you admire the most and look to amplify them.

You’re the coach, and the future versions of yourself are members of your team. They’re looking up to you for inspiration and will remember you for your best qualities. Act as if they will put a statue up in your name. It’s your responsibility to leave a legacy that your future selves are thankful for.

Ask yourself:

What legacy do I want to leave?

Tee Yourself Up Like Tiger Woods

At the present moment, you have one job: to tee up success for your future self and make them feel good. As Dr. Benjamin Hardy writes, the version of you in 20 years “won’t see the world the way you do. They won’t even be in the same world you’re in.” To ensure your future self can cope, they need the appropriate skills.

Think about Tiger Woods. The actions he took as a kid were all based on the future he wanted to see for himself. While he’s had personal battles, the man he is now is a reflection of those efforts. He’s made himself look good.

Ask yourself:

How can I make my future self look good?

Describe Your “Ideal Day”

Your “ideal day” likely looks a lot different now compared to five years in the future, for example. By writing down your ideal day at the present moment, you can see what you’re missing.

Here’s what mine looks like now:

  • I wake up at 8 am and write a few pages in my journal. I eat a healthy breakfast quickly, and without interruption, write an article. The idea is already there, and I get a first draft done within an hour. I check my emails and notifications, which show the passive income I’ve earned overnight. My stocks are in the green, and I’m planning my next vacation.
  • I then get a rewarding workout in and have a nice lunch. After that, I’ll edit and submit a top-quality article to a prestigious publication. I’ll then tend to any clients I have for my business which will revolve around helping people with their creativity.
  • In the evening, I will have a healthy meal, before watching my favorite show and reading an exciting book.

While I see some of those elements at the moment, I’m still far from that. I need to grow my email list to develop a business and get acquainted with more prestigious publications.

In short — I need to work towards my ideal day.

Identifying the key elements of your ideal day helps you to see your future self more clearly. Bit by bit, you can fit the pieces to the puzzle.

Ask yourself:

What does my “ideal day” look like?

Listen to Your “Probably’s”

Have you ever said something like, “I should probably workout today,” or “I should probably start my course today”? Yeah, me too. They are things you know you should be doing but don’t. They might seem small, but when your future self is bemoaning your lack of action, those “probably’s” grow in stature.

Instead, listen to them. Turn a probably into a certainty. “I should” becomes “I will.” Use a tip from motivational speaker Mel Robbins and make a decision to do something within the first five seconds, or you won’t do it at all. Starting is the hardest part.

By listening to what you “probably should be doing,” you are listening to your brain. It wants to look out for your future self — you just need to listen to it.

Ask yourself:

What am I not doing that I probably should?

Realize the True Source of Motivation

Tell me if this phrase rings a bell: “I am so unmotivated today.” I’ve said it countless times, and I probably will in the future (one of the ‘probably’s’ I shouldn’t listen to). However, uncovering the reason why you’re motivated in the first place is vital in taking action today for a better future. According to the Expectancy Theory of Motivation, there are three rules:

  • You have to want the outcome
  • You have to know how to get it
  • You have to believe you can do it

These questions act as clarity, which, as history tells us, is vital. Thomas Edison’s clear drive to explore how he could distribute power led to some labeling him as the “father of landmark inventions.” It wasn’t just a drive, it was conviction.

As entrepreneur Alon Braun writes, “we need to know why we’re doing what we’re doing.” Before you begin a new venture, make sure you fully understand you know why you’re doing it. Then you can point yourself in the right direction and fire away.

Ask yourself:

What am I actually motivated for?

I’m all for living in the moment, but at some point, that moment will dissolve into the future. While you can’t predict it, you sure can tee it up.

So, to recap the five things that, if you do now, your future self will thank you for:

  • Be someone you would follow by asking yourself: “What legacy do I want to leave?”
  • Tee yourself up for a glorious and successful future by asking yourself: “How can I make my future self look good?”
  • Describe your current “ideal day.” Analyze it and see what’s missing so you can work towards it. Ask yourself: “What does my “ideal day” look like?”
  • Listen to your “probably”s to see what your brain is telling you to do. Ask yourself: “What am I not doing that I probably should?”
  • Realize the true source of your motivation so you can go into every situation with immense clarity. Ask yourself: “What am I actually motivated for?

Like this? Find out the methods I used to write it and learn the methods I’ve used to write multiple articles a day.

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Thanks to Emily Wilcox, Li Charmaine Anne, Anangsha Alammyan, and Eva Keiffenheim, MSc

Max Phillips

Written by

Words in Forge, Debugger, Better Humans, & more. | A 23-year-old writing about self-improvement that interests me. | Get in touch ->

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

Max Phillips

Written by

Words in Forge, Debugger, Better Humans, & more. | A 23-year-old writing about self-improvement that interests me. | Get in touch ->

Mind Cafe

Mind Cafe

Relaxed, inspiring essays about happiness.

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