How thinking about ‘future you’ can build a happier life

How thinking about ‘future you’ can build a happier life

I’m well aware that a lot of motivational and inspirational articles and posts focus on living in the moment.

And I’m well aware that mindfulness and “being present” have many wonderful benefits.

But I’m also very aware that optimism and hope are vitally important for happiness and other positive emotions; and for these we need to think beyond the here and now and into the future.

Future focused thinking, if done right, can be a very powerful force for good. And this article by David Robson from the BBC website presents a version of this, a specific version in which you think about a future you …

We should think more about whom we’ll be in the future – because doing so has profound consequences for our health, happiness and financial security.

Take a moment to imagine yourself in 10 years. Depending on your age, you might have a few more grey hairs and wrinkles, and you might hope for some changes to your material circumstances, too. But does the person you imagine feel, fundamentally, very close to the person you are today? Or do they feel like a stranger?

According to a wealth of psychological studies from the past decade, people’s responses often vary widely – and their answers reveal surprising things about their behavioural tendencies.

Some people have a vivid sense of their future self, which feels very close to their current identity. These people tend to be more responsible with their money and more ethical in their treatment of others; they are keen to act in a way that will make life easier in the years ahead.

Many other people struggle to imagine their future self as a continuation of the person that they are today, and they tend to be far less responsible in their behaviours. It’s almost as if they see their future self as a separate person that has little connection to their present identity – and, as a result, they are far less worried about the long-term consequences of their actions.

You could almost think about your future self as a relationship that needs to be nurtured and cultivated. Fortunately, there are some simple strategies to strengthen your empathy and compassion for the person you will become – with some profound consequences for your health, happiness and financial security. 

Philosophical origins

The inspiration for the recent psychological research on the future self can be found in the writings of philosophers such as Joseph Butler, in the 18th Century. “If the self or person of today, and that of tomorrow, are not the same, but only like persons, the person of today is really no more interested in what will befall the person of tomorrow, than in what will befall any other person,” Butler wrote in 1736…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE