Your Life is Now, Not in Five Years

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I'm sure I've read something similar to this somewhere - most things I reflect on come from things I read or hear (probably not alone in that). SO, it was this notion that the best predictors for where you're going to be tomorrow and then the next day and then the next week and so on is not where you are today, but what you're doing.

Basically, the best predictor of future actions are current actions. I'm not going to go so far as to say that nobody can 'move' in their life. I don't think that's true. What I do think is true, however, is that people only move when they put in the effort, intention, and focus on moving. And I think that getting to the point where you're putting all that time and energy into something you don't see results for right away is, well, pretty disheartening. So then we say "eff it" and go back to what we were doing right before. 

What we don't think about, however, is what that means for us long term. If we just decide to be done with something that doesn't bring his immediate results, then how can we expect to make changes in our lives that stay in place (rhetorical - I'm emphasizing a point).

I remember a year or so ago, I read something about habit formation and felt shocked. I had been under the impression that a habit takes 30 days to form, which is a long time, but seems doable. What I read, however, said that research says habits take more than 60 days to stick. 60 DAYS!!! We're going from one month to two, and while that may not seem like a huge deal - it's TWICE as long as what the most people typically think it takes. Quite a bit longer, if we put it that way.

So, I want us to play a small game. Nothing major, now - just a quick game. I'm going to ask you a question and I want you to be super honest with yourself and, more importantly, note the first response that comes to your mind. The 'game' is that you don't filter your response, rather that you respond as quickly (i.e. no cognitive filter in play) as possible. You don't have to share it with anybody (it's not even really that serious), but it's important that you know for yourself.

Ready?

The question: Given your life right now, if you were to fast-forward one year where your daily habits hadn't changed, would you be satisfied and happy with the way you were living your life?

Be honest.

And one more question: Give your life right now, if you were to fast-forward five years where you daily habits (from today) hadn't changed, would you be satisfied and happy with the way you were living your life?

You did it! That's all - that's the game.  

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Here's why we're even playing this game. It's not to highlight that you're disappointing yourself or something ill-intended (and if you happy with your response, then good for you!). It's really to highlight a sense of awareness regarding your daily habits and activities, and to help you project yourself into the future to see if you'd be happy with what you're doing currently. I hope that all makes sense. It's mostly about self-awareness, to make it simple. 

Here's your homework, then. Think about one thing that you want to be doing in one or five years. You can even keep it small. For example, maybe you want to stop biting your nails (I want to have long, strong nails in a year and in five years). Perfect. Focus on doing this one day at a time (so cliche, I know), but set yourself a longer-term goal, such as, "I'll go three days without biting my nails and see how I feel." And then maybe, "Okay, I'll go two weeks without biting my nails," and so on and so forth. Just keep lengthening the time you're engaging in your new habit, and, ultimately, you'll get to two months. By that time, ideally, it'll stick (with some maintenance). 

Good luck on your habit change! Also remember, this isn't just about right now, it's also about your in the future. If the best predictor of your future habits and self is your current habits and self, then what sort of future do you want and person do you want to be?

If you're somebody who knows you need support around changing a seemingly overwhelming habit, just reach out for a free, initial phone consult, and to see if counseling around this topic could be helpful for you.

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