To Get Issues Accomplished, Think about Your Future-Self

There are two Gretchens.

I’ve myself at this time second, and I’ve my future-self. I’ve discovered that it’s very, very useful to maintain this future-self in thoughts.

I keep on with duties and habits that I’d relatively keep away from within the current, as a result of I’m conscious of how they’ll repay within the future: “My future-self gained’t need dental work, so I’d higher floss now.” (Because the outdated saying goes, “You don’t need to maintain all of your enamel, simply those you need to maintain.”) “My future-self can be so blissful if I take pictures every single day on this journey, I’ll bear in mind all our adventures.”

On this method, considering of future-Gretchen makes my life happier, more healthy, extra productive, and extra artistic.

When it comes to my 4 Tendencies character framework, the considering of the future-self is a software that’s helpful for all 4 Tendencies:

  • you’ll be able to create accountability for any intention, without having anybody else’s cooperation—notably helpful for Obligers
  • you remind your self of the nice or unhealthy penalties that can comply with out of your actions or inactions—notably helpful for Rebels
  • you remind your self of the explanations that you just’re doing one thing—notably helpful for Questioners
  • you remind your self of the ache of letting your self down or the satisfaction of accomplishment—notably helpful for Upholders

When deciding the best way to spend our time, vitality, or cash, considering of our future-selves will help us to keep away from emotions of remorse and set ourselves up for emotions of satisfaction.


I can mirror on what regrets future-Gretchen might really feel. Remorse is an disagreeable emotion, but it surely’s useful: as a result of it’s so disagreeable, I need to do the issues that can imply I gained’t undergo it.

  • If I don’t train now, future-Gretchen will remorse it, as a result of she’ll be frail.
  • If I don’t get my shingles vaccine now, future-Gretchen might get a horrible case of shingles.
  • If I don’t put on my seat belt now, future-Gretchen might get critically injured in a automotive accident that in any other case wouldn’t be very critical.
  • If I don’t keep in shut contact with my high-school mates now, future-Gretchen will really feel lonelier.
  • If I don’t take the difficulty to improve my laptop computer now, future-Gretchen might need to cope with a crash.
  • If I don’t make an effort to learn extensively now, future-Gretchen’s concepts will begin to really feel stale.
  • If I don’t make an effort to offer myself recess on a regular basis, future-Gretchen might begin to really feel drained and overwhelmed.
  • If I don’t purchase airplane tickets early, future-Gretchen can pay extra and have fewer decisions.

As a part of my 23 for 2023 Trifecta, I made an inventory of 23 issues that I need to accomplish in 2023. Future-Gretchen will really feel plenty of remorse if I don’t get plenty of these issues performed by December 31; they’re necessary to me. I must take motion now, for future-Gretchen’s profit.

Additionally, if we’re caught in analysis-paralysis or struggling to do one thing, remorse will help us determine what goals to abandon. We are able to ask, “Will my future-self care if I do that—or not?” If future-Gretchen gained’t really feel any remorse, most likely now-Gretchen doesn’t want to fret about it.

One other technique for utilizing the regrets of our future-self to make ourselves happier? Conduct a pre-mortem. Think about your self sooner or later: You’ve failed to attain an necessary intention. What went fallacious? Why did you fail? What is going to your future-self want that your now-self had performed in another way? I’ve performed pre-mortems a number of occasions, they usually’ve at all times helped me to take motion within the current.


The flip-side of remorse is satisfaction.

I can even remind myself of how gratified future-Gretchen will really feel with what now-Gretchen has performed.

It’s simple to deal with the “to-do,” and it may be energizing to remind ourselves as a substitute of the “ta-da”—how nice our future-self will really feel after we look again on how far we’ve come.

  • If I learn twenty minutes every day now, future-Gretchen will end many books by the tip of the yr, which feeds my creativity.
  • If I take the time to wash out my workplace now, future-Gretchen will really feel calmer and spend much less time in search of misplaced objects.
  • If I comply with the “Go Exterior 23 in ’23” problem, future-Gretchen will constantly spend time in nature this yr, a supply of vitality and happiness.
  • If I make a number of lunch plans now, future-Gretchen will really feel extra linked to outdated mates and have new mates.
  • If I do a weekly Energy Hour, future-Gretchen will really feel the aid and satisfaction of crossing dreaded duties off the listing.
  • If I maintain a working listing of reward concepts all year long, future-Gretchen will discover gift-buying simple and enjoyable at vacation time.

An fascinating twist on utilizing a “ta-da” method to the longer term self? Write a letter of congratulations to your future-self, by which you reward future-you for all the precise steps efficiently performed to attain a troublesome intention.  Visualizing the satisfaction of the victorious end line might provide you with vitality to persist—and to establish, with anticipatory hindsight (oxymoron alert!), the steps you took to attain it.

How do you invoke your future-self to assist your present-self to get issues performed? I’d love to listen to extra concepts and insights about the best way to use this idea to make our lives happier.

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