No matter what your goals are – eating healthier, sleeping better, gaining strength, etc. – having a clear picture of them greatly increases your chance of success. Envisioning yourself at your goal is an extremely powerful motivator that can keep you on track when you lose your why.
The more specific and personal you get with this vision – your future self – the easier your healthier choices will be. Here is an exercise to acquaint you with your future self:
Sit quietly for a few moments with your eyes closed and envision yourself living life at your goal. If your goal is making healthier choices when you eat out, picture this version of you walking into your favorite restaurant, looking over the menu and eating that item you always wish you would have ordered. Picture yourself feeling satisfied with your choice of grilled salmon, brown rice and veggies, instead of stuffed and upset after eating your usual order of chicken parm and fries.
A goal of getting in shape so you can keep up with your athletic friends, would be a vision of you hiking to a waterfall without having to stop and rest. A you that says, “yes” to a local 5K without hesitation. What does this life look like? How does future you feel when they get up in the morning?
On the flip side, imagine a future you that never made the positive changes you are setting out to do. A you that remains the same, or even creates more bad habits. What does your life of staying the same look like?
With a solid vision of your future self, it’s easier to connect your choices today, to the you who benefits from them tomorrow.With a solid vision of your future self, it's easier to connect your choices today, to the you who benefits from them tomorrow. Click To Tweet
It’s easy to push things off for the future you to do, i.e. “the diet starts tomorrow”, but when you feel connected to that person, you’ll start making choices that make it easier for the future you instead of harder.
For example, when training for PR (personal record) in the half marathon, there were some tough workouts that had me anxious the night before. It would be really easy to dial down speed work and not give a full effort since the race was months away, but I had a vivd picture of my future self. When runs got tough, I pictured myself crossing the finish line under my goal time. I pictured lining up at the start feeling confident. I knew that for every tough run I completed, my goal would be that much easier and the race that much more enjoyable. Plus, I knew that if I didn’t hit my goal, it wasn’t for lack of trying because I did all I could by working hard now.
When you are only focused on the you right now, it’s easy to lose motivation. After all, what’s one missed yoga class, or one indulgent dinner. But, in order to see real change, it’s not about those single choices, it’s about how they all add up together to create a healthier lifestyle.It's not about single choices, it's about how they add up to create a healthier lifestyle. Click To Tweet
When you feel a pull to sway from your goal actions – healthier eating, getting enough sleep, pushing yourself in the gym – picture the future you. The goal lifestyle you’re working towards. Do the thing she would do, the thing she would thank you for.
A client of mine mentioned how she was going to a yoga class that night, and how she was hesitant to go since it didn’t get out until 7pm. “But what else would I be doing? Sitting on my couch.” She had a clear picture of her future self, the self that if she didn’t go to yoga would be thinking, “I should have gone, I’ve only been watching TV”.
Think of the future you. Write a description of their day, draw a sketch of their priorities, write them a letter, whatever you need to do to make them real. Then, when you want to push things off on to her, think of her as a real person who will benefit or be left to deal with the choices you make today.
Could you use some help creating goals that fit the future you’s lifestyle? If you’d like some guidance and accountability in taking that first step, my 4-Week Kickstarter health coaching program could be just what you need! Shoot me an email and let’s chat about where you are and where you want to go!