“Thinking deeply about your choices and actions from the stance of your future self can serve as both a motivational and a corrective force.” — Cheryl Strayed
Your journey of self-transformation begins with envisioning your Future Self.
What is Future Self?
I’ll explain Future Self in simple terms and why you might care… Your Future Self is simply you in the Future.
Your Future Self could be you tomorrow, you next week, you 30 days from now, you 90 days from now, you 1 year from now, you 10 years from now, etc.
You can use your Future Self to visualize the self you would like to become. You can also use this image of your Future Self to motivate yourself and guide your decisions and actions.
This article explores the significance of understanding, connecting with, and harnessing the power of your Future Self to guide your decisions, ignite your motivation, and lead you towards a life of purpose and fulfillment.
What is Future Self?
Your “Future Self” is the version of you that exists beyond the present moment, representing the person you aspire to become in the days, weeks, months, or years ahead.
It’s a dynamic concept that involves visualizing your future achievements, growth, and desired characteristics.
Embracing your Future Self empowers you to make decisions, set goals, and take actions that align with your long-term aspirations and create a bridge between your current reality and your envisioned future.
Why Connect with Your Future Self?
The concept of the Future Self comes with a treasure trove of benefits that can transform the way you approach life and your goals:
- Motivation Magnet: Your Future Self becomes a powerful source of motivation. Visualizing the successful, accomplished “you” in the future can ignite your drive to take action and work towards your aspirations.
- Guiding Light: Your Future Self serves as a guiding star. By aligning your present choices with the person you aspire to become, you create a roadmap for your journey toward your long-term goals.
- Decisions with Depth: The Future Self lens adds depth to your decisions. It prompts you to consider the long-term impact of your choices, ensuring that your present actions contribute to your future fulfillment.
- Overcoming Short-Term Bias: Overcoming the tendency to prioritize short-term gratification becomes easier. You’re less likely to give in to fleeting impulses when you’re focused on the lasting benefits your Future Self will enjoy.
- Empowered Planning: Planning becomes more strategic. You’re not just planning for today; you’re setting the stage for the triumphs and accomplishments your Future Self will cherish.
- Enhanced Resilience: Connecting with your Future Self boosts resilience. You’re better equipped to weather challenges and setbacks when you’re driven by the desire to create a better future.
- Focused Growth: Your Future Self directs your growth. Your choices are guided by the question, “Will this benefit the ‘me’ I’m becoming?” This focus drives personal development.
- Accountability Anchor: Your Future Self holds you accountable. When you connect emotionally with your future aspirations, it’s harder to veer off track or make decisions that deviate from your goals.
- Empathy Amplifier: Establishing a strong bond with your Future Self fosters empathy. You’re essentially treating your future self as a friend, making decisions that consider their best interests.
- Life Enrichment: Ultimately, your Future Self enriches your life. You’re investing in a future that’s fulfilling, successful, and aligned with your deepest desires and ambitions.
Incorporating the power of the Future Self into your mindset not only enhances your decision-making but also propels you toward a life that’s more purposeful, intentional, and rewarding.
Former Self, Current Self, and Future Self
Distinguishing between former self, current self, and future self is crucial for personal growth, self-awareness, and intentional development.
- Reflection and Growth: Your former self represents your past experiences, choices, and growth. Reflecting on your former self helps you learn from your successes and mistakes, enabling continuous improvement and growth over time.
- Self-Awareness: Understanding your current self, including your beliefs, values, strengths, and weaknesses, provides self-awareness. This awareness is essential for making informed decisions, setting goals aligned with your true self, and recognizing areas for improvement.
- Direction and Purpose: Your future self represents your aspirations, goals, and the person you strive to become. Distinguishing this version of yourself provides a sense of direction, enabling you to set purposeful goals and work toward a vision that aligns with your values and desires.
- Motivation: Connecting with your future self can be motivating. When you visualize the positive outcomes of your efforts, it fuels your determination and persistence, helping you overcome challenges and setbacks.
- Decision-Making: Considering your former, current, and future selves when making decisions helps you make choices that are aligned with your growth trajectory, values, and long-term aspirations.
- Intentional Planning: By recognizing the evolution from former to current to future self, you can plan intentionally for your personal development journey. This involves setting achievable milestones, building on strengths, and addressing areas of improvement.
- Consistency and Authenticity: Aligning your actions with your values across your former, current, and future selves fosters authenticity. It ensures that your choices reflect your true identity and create a consistent narrative of growth.
Distinguishing between these aspects of yourself allows you to navigate life with purpose, stay true to your values, and make decisions that lead to a meaningful and fulfilling journey of self-discovery and development.
The Psychology of Future Self
In psychology, the Future Self research explores the processes and consequences of thinking about yourself in the future, and it’s part of a broader concept called “Possible Selves”.
Possible Selves are multiple alternative versions of yourself, that include past and future selves. Together these Possible Selves characterize your fantasies, fears, and regrets of who you might have been and who you may become.
The psychology of the Future Self explores how individuals perceive, relate to, and make decisions based on their Future Selves. It’s a fascinating aspect of human behavior that explores the interplay between present actions and their anticipated outcomes in the future.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Possible Selves: This concept suggests that individuals have multiple “Possible Selves” — different versions of themselves that could emerge based on choices, circumstances, and aspirations. These Possible Selves include not just positive outcomes but also potential regrets and missed opportunities.
- Temporal Discounting: Humans often exhibit “temporal discounting,” where they place less value on rewards or consequences that are farther into the future. This can lead to prioritizing short-term gains over long-term benefits.
- Identity and Continuity: People view their Future Selves as an extension of their current identity. This sense of continuity influences their decisions and actions, as they aim to align their behavior with their envisioned future.
- Empathy and Connection: Establishing a psychological connection with the Future Self involves feeling empathy for that future version of oneself. This connection enhances decision-making by considering the long-term implications of choices.
- Cognitive Dissonance: When the actions of the present self don’t align with the goals of the Future Self, individuals can experience cognitive dissonance. This psychological discomfort motivates them to bridge the gap between their present and future identities.
- Visualization: Creating a vivid mental image of the Future Self can enhance commitment to long-term goals. Visualization taps into the power of imagination to make future outcomes more tangible and achievable.
- Impact on Behavior: Research suggests that people who feel a strong connection to their Future Selves are more likely to engage in behaviors that benefit their long-term well-being, such as saving money, adopting healthy habits, and making ethical choices.
- Time Perspective: Individuals have varying time perspectives that influence their relationship with their Future Selves. A future-oriented perspective emphasizes long-term planning, while a present-oriented perspective prioritizes immediate gratification.
- Goal Setting: The psychology of Future Self can inform effective goal-setting strategies. By connecting actions with envisioned outcomes, individuals can set goals that are both realistic and aligned with their future aspirations.
Understanding the psychology of the Future Self provides insights into why people make certain choices, how they envision their growth over time, and what motivates them to align their present actions with their long-term visions.
By exploring this dynamic interplay, you can make more informed decisions that lead to personal development and a more purposeful life journey.
Imagine Your Desired Future Self
Imagine this: it’s often simpler to stick with how things are right now instead of picturing a new and exciting future for yourself.
But if you don’t spend time imagining the person you want to become, you might just end up adapting to whatever life throws at you. Studies have revealed that crafting the person you’ll be in the future involves something called “deliberate practice.”
This means you actively work on becoming the version of yourself you’re aiming for. It’s like practicing a skill to get really good at it.
Without a clear idea of where you want to go, you can’t really make progress or grow effectively. Just like how you need a destination to plan a journey, you need a clear goal to shape your personal growth journey.
Imagine Limitless Potential
This scene in “Limitless” captures the essence of Eddie Morra’s transformation from a struggling and uncertain individual to a confident and brilliant person who now possesses limitless potential.
This transformation is a result of him taking a mysterious pill that enhances his cognitive abilities to an extraordinary degree.
In the scene, after taking the pill for the first time, Eddie’s perception of the world around him changes dramatically.
The camera work, lighting, and visual effects are used to depict his heightened senses and increased mental acuity.
As Eddie walks through the city streets, everything seems to slow down, and he gains an uncanny ability to process information, predict outcomes, and solve complex problems effortlessly.
The transformation is conveyed through rapid edits, quick flashes of imagery, and dynamic shifts in color and perspective. This visual representation of Eddie’s transformation helps the audience understand the profound impact the pill has on his mind and abilities.
You don’t need a pill to transform.
What you need is a new personal identity narrative.
Change Your Personal Identity Narrative
Think of your identity as a powerful force that shapes how you act and think. Over time, these actions and thoughts become your personality.
Your personality is like a mix of how you consistently behave and what you believe in. It’s a result of your identity guiding your behavior.
Your identity narrative is the story you tell about yourself – your history, your present state, and your future aspirations. If you anchor your identity solely in your past and present, it can create a mindset that feels unchangeable.
But when you shift your focus to envisioning the person you want to be in the future, rather than being overly focused on your current self, you unlock the potential to reshape your identity narrative.
Becoming Someone Else…
In the TV show “Arrow,” the main character, Green Arrow, goes through a profound transformation in his journey as a hero.
He embraces the idea of “becoming someone else, something else.”
This phrase reflects his realization that to make a true difference and overcome his challenges, he needs to evolve beyond his current identity and limitations.
It’s not just about the actions he takes, but about fundamentally shifting his mindset, skills, and purpose to become the hero Star City needs.
This theme of transformation highlights the idea that our present self isn’t fixed, and we can consciously shape our identity to become the person we need to be in order to fulfill our potential and make a positive impact.
The main character, Oliver Queen, transformed from a reckless and wealthy playboy into the vigilante superhero known as Green Arrow.
Initially, Oliver was portrayed as a carefree and irresponsible individual.
However, after being stranded on a remote island for five years and experiencing various trials and hardships, he underwent a profound change. He honed his physical and mental abilities, gained survival skills, and developed a strong sense of justice.
When he returned to Star City, he adopted the identity of the Green Arrow to fight against crime and corruption, using his skills to protect the city and its people.
This transformation represents his journey from a self-centered and aimless individual to a dedicated and purpose-driven hero.
Connect with Your Future Self for Better Results
You think about your Future Self similarly to how you think about other people.
In fact, the further in the future your project, the more your brain shuts down and treats your Future Self like a stranger.
Yet, the more connected you feel to your Future Self psychologically, the better you treat your Future Self today.
When this connection is strong, you extend kindness to your Future Self today—just as you would to a dear friend. This connection is pivotal, influencing the choices you make and the way you treat your future prospects.
Imagine feeling deeply linked to your Future Self—it’s a vantage point that empowers you to make choices that resonate across time. From financial decisions like retirement savings to opting for health-conscious choices and ethical behaviors, this connection fuels a keen awareness of the consequences your choices bear on your Future Self.
Some view this bond with the Future Self as one of the most potent tools in the arsenal of personal development. It becomes a vehicle not only for self-improvement but also for unlocking untapped potential and navigating the winding pathways of growth.
Examples of Connecting with Your Future Self
Here are a couple of case studies and examples that highlight the impact of connecting with your Future Self:
Case Study 1: Retirement Savings
Scenario: Sarah, a 30-year-old professional, often struggled to save money for retirement. She was focused on immediate expenses and didn’t prioritize long-term financial planning.
Future Self Connection: Sarah attended a financial planning seminar that emphasized connecting with her Future Self. She visualized her life as a retired individual, enjoying financial security and pursuing her passions.
Outcome: The emotional connection to her Future Self motivated Sarah to start a retirement savings plan. She set up automatic contributions to her retirement account, aligning her current actions with her future aspirations. Over time, her consistent efforts resulted in substantial savings, providing her with peace of mind for her retirement years.
Case Study 2: Health and Wellness
Scenario: Mark, a 45-year-old executive, often neglected his health due to a demanding work schedule. He struggled with maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making mindful dietary choices.
Future Self Connection: Mark participated in a wellness workshop that encouraged participants to connect with their Future Selves. He envisioned an energetic and vibrant older self, leading an active and fulfilling life.
Outcome: The emotional resonance of his Future Self’s vitality prompted Mark to prioritize his health. He incorporated regular exercise, made conscious dietary choices, and adopted stress-reduction practices. Over time, he experienced increased energy levels, improved overall health, and a greater sense of well-being.
Example 1: Olympic Athletes
Scenario: Olympic athletes often use visualization techniques to connect with their Future Selves and mentally prepare for competitions.
Future Self Connection: An Olympic swimmer visualizes herself standing on the podium, receiving a gold medal, and hearing the national anthem play.
Outcome: By emotionally connecting with her Future Self’s triumph, the athlete enhances her motivation, focus, and confidence. This practice helps her channel her efforts towards achieving her desired outcome.
Example 2: Entrepreneurial Success
Scenario: An aspiring entrepreneur dreams of launching a successful startup but struggles with self-doubt and fear of failure.
Future Self Connection: The entrepreneur envisions a future self confidently managing a thriving business, inspiring a team, and making a positive impact.
Outcome: By consistently connecting with this empowered Future Self, the entrepreneur takes calculated risks, persists through challenges, and builds a successful business. The emotional bond fuels resilience and fosters a growth mindset.
These case studies and examples demonstrate how connecting with your Future Self can inspire positive changes, drive action, and lead to meaningful outcomes in various aspects of life, including financial planning, health, career pursuits, and personal development.
How To Practice Embracing Your Future Self
Practicing the concept of Future Self involves a blend of visualization, intention-setting, and actionable steps. H
ere’s a pragmatic approach to embracing your Future Self:
- Envision Your Future Self: Take some quiet time to imagine your ideal self in the future. What achievements have you unlocked? What skills have you mastered? How do you feel? Paint a vivid mental picture.
- Set Long-Term Goals: Translate your vision into concrete long-term goals. Break them down into milestones, making them achievable steps on your journey to becoming your Future Self.
- Connect Emotionally: Forge an emotional bond with your Future Self. Think of them as a dear friend whose interests you deeply care about. This emotional connection fuels your commitment.
- Decision Alignment: Whenever you face decisions, big or small, ask yourself how your Future Self would approach them. Will this choice benefit the “you” you’re working to become?
- Create a Future Journal: Keep a journal where you write letters to your Future Self. Reflect on your progress, share your aspirations, and document your growth. It’s a personal dialogue across time.
- Practice Visualization: Regularly visualize your Future Self thriving in their achievements. This practice reinforces your connection and primes your mind to make choices in their best interest.
- Actionable Microsteps: Break down your long-term goals into smaller actions you can take today. These microsteps bridge the gap between your present and future selves.
- Celebrate Progress: Celebrate each step toward your Future Self. Recognize your achievements, no matter how small. It reinforces the connection and boosts your motivation.
- Future Self Reminders: Use visual cues—a photo, a symbol, or a phrase—to remind yourself of your Future Self’s presence. Place these reminders where you’ll see them regularly.
- Regular Check-Ins: Schedule regular moments to check in with your Future Self. Reflect on your progress, recalibrate your goals, and reaffirm your commitment to their vision.
- Practice Patience: Embrace the journey’s pace. Remember that becoming your Future Self is a process. Cultivate patience while maintaining consistency.
- Course Corrections: If you veer off track, don’t be disheartened. Your Future Self forgives. Use setbacks as opportunities to reevaluate and realign your path.
By weaving these practices into your daily life, you not only strengthen your connection with your Future Self but also harness its transformative power to guide your decisions, shape your growth, and realize your potential.
Your Future Self is Your Trusted Friend
In the fascinating journey of self-discovery and growth, the concept of Future Self emerges as your powerful ally. It’s not a crystal ball or a mystical prediction; rather, it’s a pragmatic tool that empowers you to bridge the gap between the person you are today and the person you aspire to become in the future.
Your Future Self is your own guiding star, a wise mentor from the future that helps you navigate the vast sea of choices, challenges, and opportunities. It’s your aspirations given form—a tangible reminder that the actions you take today shape the path toward a more purposeful and fulfilled tomorrow.
By forging a connection with your Future Self, you tap into a wellspring of motivation that fuels your journey.
This connection isn’t about pie-in-the-sky dreaming; it’s about practical, intentional decisions that resonate across time. Whether you’re striving to make healthier choices, build financial security, or excel in your pursuits, your Future Self is there to provide insight and guidance.
Remember, the bond with your Future Self isn’t just a fleeting exercise; it’s an ongoing dialogue that empowers you to make choices in line with your long-term aspirations.
It’s about the small steps you take today that compound into the strides you’ll make in the future.
So, as you embark on this adventure of self-mastery, consider your Future Self not as a distant acquaintance, but as a trusted friend.
The decisions you make, the habits you cultivate, and the mindset you foster today all contribute to the legacy you’re building for your Future Self.
It’s a journey of intention, growth, and the art of becoming the person you’re excited to meet.
Get the Book on Future Self
Be Your Future Self Now is available on Amazon:
Be Your Future Self Now by Dr. Benjamin Hardy
Be Your Future Self Now is an approach that encourages you to adopt the mindset, behaviors, and actions of your desired future self in the present moment.
The idea is to bridge the gap between who you are today and who you aspire to become in the future by embodying the qualities, habits, and attitudes that align with your envisioned self.
- Future Self Mindset: Embrace the mindset of your future self by envisioning the characteristics, achievements, and values you want to embody. Think and act as if you’ve already become that person.
- Behavioral Alignment: Align your actions with your future self’s behaviors and habits. This involves making choices that reflect your long-term goals and aspirations.
- Incremental Change: Implement gradual changes that move you closer to your future self. Focus on small shifts in behavior that accumulate over time and contribute to lasting transformation.
- Visual Cues: Use visual reminders, such as notes, symbols, or images, to prompt you to make choices that align with your future self’s identity and goals.
- Decision Filters: When faced with choices, consider how your future self would approach the situation. Use this perspective as a filter to guide your decisions toward alignment with your desired outcomes.
- Intentional Growth: Embrace growth-oriented practices that reflect the values and achievements of your future self. Engage in learning, personal development, and experiences that align with your aspirations.
- Consistency: Consistently practicing the behaviors and mindset of your future self is key to internalizing these changes and creating lasting transformation.
- Patience and Persistence: Embrace the journey’s pace and remain patient with yourself. Becoming your future self is a gradual process that requires persistence and self-compassion.
Be Your Future Self Now is about taking ownership of your personal growth journey and using your future self as a compass to guide your choices and actions today. By consciously aligning your present with your desired future, you create a path of intention, growth, and authenticity.
You can also read my book summary Be Your future Self Now Book Summary.
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