One of the reasons it’s difficult for us to get healthy is because health is a long-term game.
We don’t see results of our efforts right away, so it’s difficult to keep doing things today for a tomorrow that we’re not familiar with.
The mirror doesn’t immediately reflect the weight gained from eating donuts for breakfast, but it also doesn’t reflect the fact that we chose a salad for lunch or did a tough HIIT workout.
As you can guess, it’s both a blessing and a curse in modern times. We can get away with some things (donuts) and also feel discouraged even when doing healthy things (workouts).
It isn’t until we get to the future to experience those results that we realize what in the past did or didn’t work in our favor.
Which is exactly why you can do this one exercise to help increase the odds that you’ll stick with it.
Meet Your Future Self
A researcher at UCLA (along with some of his researcher pals) found out that we use different parts of our brain when we think about ourselves now and our future selves.
And that when thinking of our future selves, it more closely resembles when we think of strangers than when we think of our current selves.
Yes, you read that right – when we think of our future self, it’s as if she’s a stranger.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to sacrifice donuts for some b**** I don’t even know!
So why would we want to do anything for her?
But knowing this gives us some ammo to combat the issue.
If you know me at all, you know I consider myself to be “woo-adjacent,” meaning I don’t really practice the woo stuff (you know, spiritual and energy kind of stuff) but I don’t mind those who do (some are my friends!).
In being woo-adjacent, I do acknowledge some of the benefits that can come with the woo, one such benefit being visualization.
We can use visualization to “meet” our future self – picturing what she looks like, how she lives and what she does that’s healthier than what we do now.
By describing her in detail, she becomes more real to our present day self.
And by ‘meeting’ our future self, she’s less of a stranger – meaning we’re more willing to do things for her.
How To Meet Her
The activity of visualizing her is really quite simple.
Grab your favorite journal, planner, or whatever piece of paper you’ve got laying around.
And then just begin to describe her:
- What does she look like?
- Is she confident?
- How does she carry herself?
- What does she eat?
- Does she workout?
- What are her energy levels?
- How does she show up for life?
- Does she love herself?
- How does she take care of herself?
- What does she pride herself on?
Any/all of those prompts can help you get a proper introduction to your future self – you can even name her if you want!
The more real she becomes, the more willing you’ll be to do things for her sake.
Whether you’re visualizing her a week from now or a decade from now, the exercise is the same.
Determine how she’s different from your current self – specifically, how is she healthier – and then that determines the behaviors you need to begin to become her.
It won’t happen overnight (remember, it’s a long game) but it will happen. And slowly but surely you’ll become that future version of yourself and she’ll no longer be a stranger – instead, you’ll know her very well!