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Be Kind to Your Future Self – It’s the Secret Sauce for Life!

Adopt a mindful practice of considering how your decisions will affect your future self and you’ll avoid costly mistakes — emotionally or financially. “When you don’t know what to do in a situation, ask yourself, ‘What would the person I want to be do in this situation?’ Then do that.” ~ Drew Dudley

Do you give much thought to your future self? If not, you’re far from alone. According to researchers, many people feel no connection with the person they’ll be in the future. After all, you can’t change that you’ll get older, so why worry about it, right?  

Of course, some think about this for fun. According to Google about 2,400 people search for “What will I look like when I’m older?” every month. There are online sites and apps that allow you to upload a picture of yourself and see how you’ll look later in life.

Going beyond what you’ll look like, I think it’s a healthy practice to keep in mind your older self when making daily decisions. It introduces a deeper layer of mindfulness into your life, as you acknowledge each action will have an impact on your future.

Interestingly, The Harvard Business Review has an interview with Professor Hal Hershfield. He, and other researchers at Stanford, used software to digitally age photos of their subjects and applied fMRI technology to document whether considering your future self alters your decision-making process.

The entire interview is fascinating, and I encourage you to read it. It shows that there’s real power in being kind to your future self. It moves people toward looking for long-term rewards.

We make better decisions and choose healthier behavior when we recognize that our future selves are dependent on our present decisions. While we can’t go back and change our past, we can mindfully start from where we are today to make our tomorrows better.

Better decisions are accumulative in nature. One builds a foundation for the next. With time, good choices lead to a better life.

Can you come back from a past, disastrous decision? Maybe you foolishly acted on impulse in the past and it changed the course of your life. You don’t have to be stuck there! Acknowledge it. Learn from it. With each baby step forward you can navigate to a better place.

As important as it is to reconnect with younger self, it’s just as vital to keep in mind your older self. The more mindful you are of your choices, the more control you have over your life and its outcome. Your job is to make as many unconscious behavioral patterns conscious.

It all starts with meaningful daily decisions — saving money, exercising regularly, mindfully eating nutrient-dense food, and communicating deeply with loved ones. Each time you choose these activities, you’ll increase your quality of life. Here are some examples to get you started.

In future I would like to:

Be vigorous and active — I will achieve this by exercising and eating a balanced diet today.

Be happy — I will achieve this today by connecting deeply with those I love by expressing kindness, gratitude and love through what I say and how I act. I will show love for myself by doing one thing that gets me closer to my dream.

Be financial free — I will achieve this by saving more and spending or investing wisely.

How do you want to be in the future? What can you do right now to make this happen for your older self? While I’m not advocating that you play it safe because it might turn out badly, I do urge you to think about how daily decisions will impact you later in life. Thinking mindfully about the consequences of your action can help you make better decisions. Any sacrifice you make today will make future rewards that much sweeter. As Mahatma Gandhi said,

“Your future depends on what you do today.”

My colleague, Louise Santiago, and I have founded Newave Leaders, so empowering women from around the globe can come together, converse, and with greater understanding, effect real change in our personal and professional lives. We invite you to join our conversation at the Great Circle Community. There’s no charge or obligation.

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