How much time do you spend thinking about your future self, the version of you one year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now, even 20 years from now? In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to make your future self proud, so let’s dive in.
Welcome to the School of Self-Image, where personal development meets style. Here’s your hostess, master life coach Tonya Leigh.
What is happening, my beautiful friends? I just came back from a workout. And to be quite honest, I did not want to go. I was having this internal temper tantrum and I thought about what we’re going to talk about on today’s episode; how to make my future self proud.
I thought about the version of me that’s actually sitting here right now recording this and how she would be so proud of me for getting up and getting my booty to the gym. And so, here I am feeling very proud of that version of me who said yes to that.
Your future self is the you that is five minutes from now, tomorrow, a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from now. Now, what’s really interesting is that studies are starting to happen about our relationships with our future selves. And what they’re discovering is that when we visualize ourselves five to 10 years from now, we have a very hard time associating with her.
In fact, we often see ourselves five to 10 years out as another. Basically, you see your future self as a different person, a stranger. And let’s face it, we don’t tend to take better care of strangers as we do ourselves. And so, the question becomes how do you form a relationship with your future self that will inspire you to make decisions today that serve your future versus sabotage it?
So, I want to share some of the ways I’ve developed a strong relationship with my future self so that I wake up wanting to make her proud every single day. So, the first thing that I did recently, which is a super powerful exercise is I sat down and I actually thanked my past self. Because my past self was taking care of my future self, which exists today.
And so, I thought about all of the things that I did years ago that have now set me up to have the life that I have today. And you can do this too. There are decisions that you’ve made in your past that have had a positive benefit on your life.
Now, you may not have been thinking about your future self at the time. Maybe you were just doing it because you were told you were supposed to. So, for example, some of you may have IRAs, 401Ks that you’ve been contributing to. That decision that you made years ago was prepping you to have a better future.
And so, I wrote down all of the things, like starting this podcast. I don’t even know how many years ago it was. Four years ago? At the time, I had a lot of resistance around it. No one was listening to it because it wasn’t created yet. But I did it anyway.
I thought about my future self who, how many episodes are we in now? 200 and something? How proud she would be that I showed up for this commitment every single week. I look at my savings account and all of the times that I said no to certain things so that I could instead put that money into the bank and now I’m enjoying having that money there.
I think about the version of me years ago who decided to eat healthy and how that’s impacted my life today. So, you can actually sit down and thank your past self as a way of recognizing the power of now taking care of your future self.
I also recommend that you get to know your future self. Again, studies are showing that we don’t feel associated with our future self. It’s like a stranger. So, how do we close that gap so that we realize that our future self is a part of us? And the choices that we make today are going to impact that future self.
So, there are a couple of ideas on how to do this. Number one, visualizing your future self. Imagine yourself 10 years from now. Where do you want to be? What kind of life do you want to be living? Who will be surrounding you? How will you feel physically, emotionally, spiritually?
Allow yourself to dream of that future self and I want you to begin to see her or him in vivid detail. Study your face 10 years from now, 20 years from now. Study how you’re showing up, Study how you’re feeling in your body.
They also have found out that when we can actually see ourselves in the future, like an older version of ourselves, we can connect better to that self. And so, one of the things that they’ve been doing is actually, through virtual reality, allowing people to meet the older version of themselves. And all of a sudden, they have more empathy and more care and more compassion.
Another thing that they suggest in some of the research that I’ve been studying is that you use these photo apps. I don’t know if you all have seen them, but they have these apps where you can download a current picture and it creates the older version of you. So, you’re going to have a few more wrinkles than you do now.
But I did it and it’s really powerful to see myself at like 70 and 80 years old and all of a sudden – I remember, when I saw it, I had so much love for her. I thought about how much life she’s lived. I thought about what I want for her. I don’t want her to be struggling. I don’t want her to be worrying about frivolous things that I could have managed, I could have taken care of had I made better decisions today.
I want her to feel healthy and vibrant and alive. I don’t want her to be worrying about money. I want her to have a lot of love and laughter in her life. And I will tell you all, by seeing that image of me, it did create a connection that I didn’t have before. So, visualize your future self in as much vivid detail as possible so that she doesn’t feel like a stranger, but she feels like a part of you that you feel responsible to take care of.
The next thing I suggest is to use the familiar acronym, but we’re going to change it a little bit. Do you remember those bracelets that said, “WWJD,” what would Jesus do? I want you to change it to WWFSD, what would my future self do?
Instead of thinking about, “What do I want to eat?” Ask yourself, “What do I want to have eaten?” When you are facing a big decision, ask yourself, “WWFSD? What would my future self do right now?”
Here’s the thing, you all. There’s this wise loving mentor within all of us and she’s our future self. She’s always trying to nudge us and guide us. But we have to pay attention. We have to listen to our intuition. We have to be willing to go through the discomfort that we often avoid through immediate gratification at the sacrifice of long-term gain.
But the more we listen and trust our future selves, the more we’re going to make her so proud. So, remember, WWFSD. Get a bracelet of you need to, to remind you to take good care of your future self and to make her proud.
Another thing I like to do is Q&A sessions with my future self. I like to ask her questions. This is very similar to the last one, where you ask, what would my future self do? But you can be even more focused and ask her specific questions like, how do you handle adversity and conflict? What do I need to let go of? How do I grow my business? How do I form better relationships?
Any question that you want clarity around, go to that version of you in the future who is living an extraordinary life. Let her guide you. Listen to her. Trust her. Let her coach you and mentor you. Your future self is a pretty smart cookie, I promise.
And then finally, a different flavor of this is to write a letter from your future self. So, I love to have my future self write me letters, especially when I’m struggling with something. I like to go to that version of me who’s on the other side of it, who maybe is five, 10 years down the road from it. And it’s crazy how to her it’s no big deal.
It’s almost like we’re watching a movie together and she knows how it’s going to end and she knows it’s a happy ending, so she’s like, “Oh, just buckle up for this part. It’s going to get a little bumpy, but you’ve got this. Here’s how you should think about it. This is how you should view it. Here’s how this is going to make you stronger and better.”
And so, I frequently journal from my future self. I go to that place where she’s reached her goals, she’s joyful and happy and loving life and I let her guide me to that energy in the present moment.
People who focus on making their future selves proud are healthier, they have a better sense of wellbeing. They have better relationships. They have better finances. So, it behooves all of us to get to know our future selves and really focus on making her proud in our daily decisions.
Right now, ask yourself, “What can I do today to make my future self proud?” Maybe it will inspire you to for a walk. Maybe it will nudge you to finish that project that you’ve been procrastinating on. Maybe you’ll be inspired to put on a beautiful outfit. Who knows? But I know this. Your future self has some ideas, so what will you do to make your future self proud?
Have a gorgeous week, my friends, and I will see you in next week’s episode. Cheers.
Hey, have you grabbed your free copy of the School of Self-Image Manifesto? If not, what in the world? Head over to schoolofselfimage.com/manifesto and get a copy that teaches you how to think and show up in the areas of mindset, style, and surroundings so that you can transform your self-image.