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Your future self is calling. They said to start looking out for them more.
Looking out for your future self is one of the most important things you can do for your personal growth and success. Looking out for future you is a form of self-care. You’re taking care of yourself now so that you will be better off.
Of course, we want to be present and not be too future focused, but the way to create change and grow is to take care of ourselves for the future whether the future is ten years from now, a year from now, a day from today or an hour from now. The future is happening. We will always be entering the future.
We have the power to create the future. This is why it is greater than our past. Our past is just that – our past. Our future hold so much more – infinite possibilities and opportunities.
The problem is that most of us want to appease ourselves in the now. We want to do what feels good now rather than do what’s uncomfortable, boring and little painful now for a better feeling later. It’s why we procrastinate. It’s completely normal and everyone does it.
The main reason why we also put things off and don’t look out for our future selves is because of a cognitive bias called present bias in which we tend to see our future selves as a complete and total stranger. We don’t see our future selves as ourselves.
Many of us self-sabotage ourselves in easy, sneaky, slow ways. When we think of self-sabotage and self-destruction, we usually think of people doing things like constantly arguing with their partner or coming into work drunk. But we forget that it’s often easier to not do something. It’s easy to put things off or forget about them because they are not important now, although they will be in the future.
In a way, looking out future you is a way of living in the present because you are not putting things off. You are doing what’s important and helpful to you in the long-run rather than just chasing pleasures and fleeting happiness.
Looking out for future you is a way of investing in yourself. Investing your time, energy, focus and money.
To connect with future you, experts recommend to picture that person and the life you want to live. By merely putting yourself in your future self’s shoes has an unbelievable effect on your behavior in the present.
Try it, and your present and future self will be BFFs.
Here are 25 ways you can look out for future you to avoid regret and experience greater happiness and success in the long term.
1. Having dental hygiene habits
Create a habit of brushing your teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening as well as flossing every night if you don’t already have the habit. Good dental habits over time don’t just keep your teeth clean, they keep you healthy. You also avoid expensive dental procedures and surgeries with good dental hygiene habits.
2. Eating well
Eating well is generally not much of a concern until there is an issue such as a medical problem or wanting to change your appearance. It’s also not just about taking care of yourself physically in regards to your physical health but your mental and emotional health as well. There is a major connection between what we eat and how we feel as well as how we perform on a cognitive level. These eating habits compound over time.
3. Investing and saving early
Many people don’t start investing early on because it’s either “too complicated” or it’s not a priority. The thing is you can learn and figure it out. It’s entirely possible even if it may seem hard or complicated at first. You’ll be very glad you did.
4. Automating your finances
Automating your finances is one of those things where you do the work once and then can relax and not have to worry about it much. Automation makes things easier for you. You avoid paying bills late and then having to pay late fees and having a drop in credit score.
5. Putting things away when you’re done with them
Putting things away when you’re done with them helps to avoid clutter and keeps things clean. This avoids mental clutter as well when things start to pile up in the to-do list for organizing and cleaning. You’re also less likely to lose things or have trouble finding them.
6. Removing your makeup
It’s important to take off your makeup every night before going to bed to take care of your skin and health. There are consequences of sleeping in makeup both overnight and in the long run. It could cause breakouts, lashes to fall out and premature aging.
7. Using sunscreen
Getting a nice tan can be tempting. Wearing sunscreen every day, even on non-beach days can seem unnecessary. However sun damage can cause skin cancer and premature aging. One small habit is worth avoiding the risk.
8. Limiting your smoking, drug, and alcohol use
We all know that these things are not healthy for us. Sure, there are benefits like most medications. There is a useful purpose for these things such as socializing and having a good time or decreasing stress and anxiety or keeping us alert and focused. However, it’s important to moderate, limit and not be reliant on things that only target the symptoms which can often lead to addiction and many other negative side effects in the long run.
Perhaps instead of relying on coffee to make you alert and focused in the morning, focus on getting a better night’s sleep. Instead of drinking, focus on ways to make your life more fun without the need for alcohol. Instead of smoking for anxiety, try meditation or therapy.
9. Limiting social media and tech entertainment consumption
Consuming social media and tech entertainment doesn’t being much added value to your life in the long run. There are much more valuable things you can put your time and energy into such as learning a new skill or spending time with loved one. The problem is that social media and technology can be addicting as it’s often made to be addicting. The best way to avoid this is by taking control of your technology and limiting your consumption of it. Check out this article to learn how to take control of your technology and avoid social media and phone addiction.
10. Planning the night before
Planning the night before is a way of taking care of your future self tomorrow. It eliminates confusion and decision fatigue. You won’t have to try to remember what you were thinking the night before what you wanted to do. It makes the day start better and smoother when you can just jump right in what’s most important without any unnecessary mental time and energy.
11. Not getting into debt or if you are in debt, getting out of it as best and quickly as you can manage
This goes more specifically towards credit card debt rather than college debt. When you get into credit card, you end up paying much more for things that you bought some time ago that you probably don’t even remember or that weren’t much significant such as clothes. And not only that – you end up paying more for other things that involve your credit score.
If you already are in debt, do what you can to pay more than the minimum, if possible, to avoid paying more and raise your credit score for a healthy financial future. Your future self will thank you for getting yourself out of debt earlier rather than later.
12. Creating a timeline for your life
The book The Defining Decade discusses the importance of creating a timeline for your life, especially if you are in your twenties. Many people have goals in their life to get married, have kids, start a family, buy a house, yet they don’t have an exact timeline. It’s someday. Or eventually. Or in the future. Not right now. These are all vague, but it’s important to take into consideration the timing of your life. Of course, there will never be a perfect time, but it’s good to have an idea. Many things can wait, but it’s best to not put them off for too long and to be intentional in the timing of things in your life.
13. Spending quality time with your loved ones
As more time goes on, the less time you have to spend with your loved ones. This goes for all the family in your life. Everyone is only getting older, specifically grandparents. As for your parents and siblings, when you leave home, you would have spent most of the time you will spend with them in your lifetime. The same goes true for any children you may have now or in the future, they will eventually leave the home. Spend as much time as you can with your loved ones before that time runs up.
14. Treating others with love and affection
Depending on how we were raised, love, affection and especially kindness is not something that we actively think about and do. It’s based on habit and how we feel. With our jobs and careers, that is something that is easy to act on and measure. But with our relationships with others, that’s something that’s not easily measured. Develop a habit of kindness and showing love, respect and affection towards others. You will be happier and the results in your relationships with people will pay off in the long run.
15. Making a schedule & planning out your goals
Making a schedule and planning out your goals takes the guesswork out. It becomes easier to reach your goals because you can start by just following the plan. In this article, I list the best tools for scheduling and planning your goals.
16. Doing one thing every day to bring you closer to your goals
Setting goals and writing them out is one thing. But actually doing something every single day to bring you closer to reaching your goals is another. If you take one small step every single day to reaching your goal for a year, that’s 365 steps towards a goal.
17. Implementing a reading/learning habit
Reading is one of the, if not the, most important habits you can have. Books change you. From the inside. You don’t just learn. You change your worldview. Your perspective changes. It’s intimate and immersive.
And if you’re reading this blog, it’s likely that you’ll reach for the nonfiction books first. But don’t limit yourself. Read fiction as well. Read for experience, truth and wisdom. These three things will transform you.
18. Keeping things organized both physically and digitally
Keeping your space clean and organized makes you more productive, happier and less stressed. You also save time when you know where everything is or can quickly find what you’re looking for due to the organization.
19. Backing up your stuff
To avoid any unexpected accident or emergency, always save and back up your digital life. Accidents happen. That’s why it’s best to be prepared for them to avoid any unnecessary stress, frustration and devastation from losing digital work and files.
Exercise is a hard thing to do because there are little immediate rewards but there are a multitude of long-term benefits. Exercise can make you happier, healthier physically and mentally, and it makes you live longer.
21. Practicing gratitude
Multiple studies have found that practicing gratitude makes you happier. Gratitude is a great habit to build because it changes your brain to see and you feel happier regardless of your circumstances and what happens.
22. Living intentionally and authentically
Living intentionally means to live life with purpose. When you live authentically, you do what is best for you. You don’t hide with fear. You’re not only guaranteed to be happier, you’re less likely to be regretful wishing you had gone for the career you wanted or wishing you had spoken up and said something.
23. Doing the hard things
Create a habit of doing the hard things. Doing the hard things makes life easier. And doing the easy things makes life hard. Your brain is hardwired to resist doing the hard things, but it’s possible to create a habit of taking action rather than procrastinating.
Make the difficult decisions and face problems early and head on rather than running away from them and putting them. One hard thing that I had to do many months ago was end a romantic relationship. As miserable as I was, it was a hard decision to make. I knew I had to leave and I wanted to leave, but the act of leaving was something that was difficult for me to do. I was scared and it was difficult, but I did it. Now, I’m so proud of and happy with my past self. That I am no longer in that relationship. I know there are many people who delay hard but important decisions like this and let years go by. Don’t let that be you.
24. Meditating/Taking time for pause and relaxation
No this does not mean mindlessly watching tv. This means being still and alone with your own thoughts or with concentrated thought since some consider reading to be a form of meditation. In this digital age, there is not much stillness going on in most of our lives. We are too busy. Things need to be done. Everything is trying to grab for our attention.
This is when it is most important to have time for stillness and meditation. This doesn’t mean you have to take up meditation, although you can. You can practice stillness by just spending moments doing nothing besides thinking. You can do this by reading, being aware of your surroundings when waiting or traveling somewhere rather than being on your phone, or just sitting somewhere, in your bathtub, in your bed, outside, without stimulation or distraction.
25. Learn preparedness skills
It’s better to be prepared than to be sorry and regretful. Problems happen. They will always happen no matter where you are in life. This is just a part of life. It’s important to learn how to deal with possible problems in your life than to think “that could never happen to me” and just do nothing except to hope that you’re right or that you’ll figure it out when it happens.
There’s a story about a wild boar sharpening his tusks against a tree. A fox comes by and asks him why we was doing this. “I don’t see the reason,” said the fox, “There are neither hunters nor hounds in sight; in fact, right now I can’t see any threat at all.” The boar replied, “True, but when danger does arise, I’ll have other things on my mind than sharpening my weapons.”
It’s better to be equipped with knowledge and prepared as best as you can by learning ahead of time what to do in certain situations so that you’re not faced with regret later on how you wish you had seen in coming, wish you were prepared or wish you would’ve known how to handle it differently.
- If you lose your job
- If your reputation is damaged online
- Preparing for opportunities
- Preparing for business threats and competition
- Preparing for the future of your industry
- If you’re broken up with/if your spouse wanted a divorce
- Having difficult conversations
- Preparing for death
- Preparing for the deaths of loved ones
- Life threatening situations
- Preparing for events/travel/adventure and what could go wrong
- Camping/hiking/survival/wilderness skills
- Natural disasters
- Getting sued
- Getting pulled over or getting arrested
- Self defense
- Using a gun
- Having kids
- Zombie attack
You create the future for yourself. Make it a happier and “easier” one by taking care of yourself now so that your future self will thank you.
If you have not been doing many of these things for a very long time, it’s not too late. You can start now.
Your future self is counting on you.