Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of research into change and our brain. We now know that adults can change. I know I have changed and become a better version of myself over the past few years. This belief is important because this lays the foundation for all the work I do in designing my future self. The self that I want to be when I’m 90 or 60 or at the end of today.
Focusing on our future selves and knowing who we want to become is key. We pay attention to how we want to live, the work we want to do. It can also include smaller details such as how much we weigh, how we dress, our fitness and health.
As adults, through the work of Dr. Joe Dispenza and Professor Carol Dweck, we know that change is possible as adults. We may have to focus more and be intentional to change our brain more than we did as children or adolescents. Typically, we are repeating the same thoughts and routines each day that we have for years. We feel the same feelings and perform the same routines because it is easy and comfortable.
Our brain likes this: it conserves energy and is keeping us safe. Most of these thoughts and routines are embedded deep within our subconscious and for the most part we remain unaware that this occurs on a daily basis. Essentially, there is little need for us to make many decisions that we repeat each day.
However, if we start paying attention to areas in our lives where our brain may be holding us back and keeping us stuck in the same routines and patterns, we see that we might be playing small or preventing ourselves from living our best life.
Our brain is programmed to look to the past for evidence as to what is possible. Most of us base decisions on what we want to do on whether we have done it before and if we were successful. Our brain will most likely tell us that we can’t do something in the future if it has no frame of reference for it in our past. It believes it is keeping us safe. If we keep repeating our past in ways we have been safe then it will try to keep us repeating those patterns. In fact, for many areas of our lives we operate on default because of this.
However, if there are areas of your life that you aren’t satisfied with, you need to reprogramme your brain to stop looking at your past. You need to start imagining a different future. This will be challenging for our brain because it likes to conserve energy and imagining a new and different future will take concentration and focus. The past is easy to imagine because we know what it looks like. The future is a blank slate and therefore requires more imagination and thought to design. It also take creativity, belief and energy.
Of course, over the course of our lives, we will mature, we have life experiences and time passes. There will be some natural growth. But, if you really want to accelerate the process and become a better version of yourself, you need to direct your attention to who you want to become. You need to be specific and you need to tap into your emotions. There are 3 powerful exercises that I do in order to focus on creating my future self. All of these tap into using the power of my mind and my emotions. I imagine in my mind who my future self is and fill in as many details as I can.
Meet yourself in 25 to 50 years – Imagine having a conversation with yourself when you’re 90 years of age. You meet her and have a conversation with her. Ask her what she wants you to start doing. Maybe it’s saving money, starting your business, travel or moving abroad, lifting weights or flossing your teeth. No detail is too small. What will she thank you for starting now? Then ask her what she wants you to stop doing. Maybe you need to stop eating so much junk food, or worrying so much. Next, ask her want she wants you to continue. My future self always wants to me to continue my yoga and meditation practice and to stay active.
Imagine yourself in the next 1 to 10 years. You can change a specific amount of time. I usually pick 1 year and then 5 years. With this exercise, you can pick a couple of areas in your life where you want to see change. It could be your money – how much money do you want to earn or save? What about travel? Are there specifics trips or places you want to visit? For your health, is there a certain weight you want to see yourself at, a certain fitness level or strength? No detail is too small and in fact, the more precise you are, the better. Your brain picks up on these details and will work to fill in the gap between your present life and the one you envision.
How do you want to feel at the end of today? This is a short exercise that you can do each morning. You simply imagine how you want to feel at the end of your day. Focus on positive feelings of appreciation, calm, abundance, etc. Ideally you want to spend 30 seconds imagining yourself lying in bed about to go to sleep and feeling those emotions. This will focus your brain on cultivating those feelings throughout the day.
Each of these exercises will help you create a better, happier, more peaceful version of yourself. The key to all of these is tapping into the corresponding emotions that you believe you will feel when you are your future self and have become this new version. Your brain does not know the difference and if you can activate the corresponding feeling and start acting as your future self would act, your brain will make it a reality. It works to fill in the gap of what is now and what is the future you want. It takes effort and concentration, but it does work and it does become easier.
So, what do you want to believe is possible for your life? Start thinking about who you want to become and what you want to achieve. Your future self with thank you.
If you need help, working with a life coach is a great way to receive guidance on any of these exercises and doing a deep dive into the concept of the future self. Just as an athlete or a manager might hire a coach to dedicate time and resources in making progress in areas greater than they can alone, a life coach can help you focus on areas of your life where you want to up-level and create amazing results. If you’re interested in a complimentary mini-session, contact me and let’s get started.
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