"Live in the moment! There is no past, there is no future, there is only now."
Okay, this sounds so nice and, yes!, sometimes we should most definitely stop and take everything in and live completely in the here and now. However, those of us who struggle with the "instant gratification syndrome" (i.e. picking the cake now over the better, healthier body later; shopping now instead of paying the house payment on time) don't necessarily need to always follow this advice.
For our last weekend challenge, I've decided on the habit that I believe we should focus on changing. It's a habit that I try very hard to always do and find it very beneficial.
For the next 3 days I challenge you, before each and every action/decision/etc., to momentarily ask how your future self will feel about your present self's decisions. Here are a few of my own real life examples:
- When I'm actively trying to lose weight, I eat a large meal around 4-5pm in the afternoon (previously my "binge time") and then I floss and brush and I'm done eating for the day (this works for me, but might not for everyone). Sometimes I get hungry again before bed or just get cravings. However, I ask myself how I will feel when I lay down to go to sleep in a little while with food on my belly. Likewise, I think about how I will feel the next morning when I'm not as well rested (because my body was busy digesting food instead of resting and repairing) and I have the frustration, guilt and feeling of failure for not sticking with my goals. I have the ongoing food question of "how will I feel about eating this when the taste is gone out of my mouth?"
- When I don't feel like working out I think about how I will feel in 30min-1 hour from then when my workout would be over both if I did do the workout and if I didn't.
- When I want to eat my son's peanut butter Panda Puffs cereal for a snack, I think about the sugar headache and energy crash I will get afterwards. Not to mention, I'll be eating his treats in front of him which will remind him they are there and he will want to eat them too. Then my future self will not only feel guilty for giving my son sugar but will also have to deal with the 5 year old blur of chaos that will be bouncing off the walls shortly thereafter (and, remember, I still have the energy crash....HOW does sugar affect us SO differently?!?!)
- When I want to sit down and play some mind numbing game on my phone during the precious hour here or there that I might actually have some free time, I think about how I will feel about how I spent that hour when it's over. Will I feel energized and refreshed like I would if I spent it cleaning, organizing, reading, working out or even taking a nap?
- And when I want to stay up late when I have to get up early the next morning, I think about how I will feel when that alarm clock goes off. Will I be glad I stayed up late? Likewise, when my alarm clock goes off at 4:30am, and I'm tempted to hit "snooze", I think about how I will feel when my future self has to drag out of bed at 5:30 anyway with the knowledge that she didn't start her day off with a good blood pumping, metabolism boosting workout.
- Sunday food prep is another time that I definitely consult with my future self when I just don't feel like doing it.
- Another huge one is when I struggle with whether to spend quality time with my son or spend that time doing something else that could wait. I envision myself when he's 18 (or even much younger) and wants nothing to do with me. Or, if he's a troubled teenager. Will I feel good about the time I spent with him or will I regret all the times I took him for granted and didn't give him my attention when he begged for it.
Okay, so you get the idea. For the next three days, I challenge you to live in the future. Before you begin (or DON'T begin) each task, consult with your future self. How will you feel an hour from now? A day from now? A year from now? 20 years from now?
Set an hourly reminder on your phone if you need to. Post notes all over the place. Have friends/family remind you. Try very hard to adopt this mentality. The effects can be amazing!
Have a great weekend!