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What can you do today that your future self will thank you for?

Picture yourself three months from today. November 23, 2023. It is Thanksgiving and you are filled with joy and gratitude. Who is around you? What have you accomplished in the past few months? Which habits have you implemented? What does your life look like? How do you feel? Take a moment to consider these questions. Close your eyes and envision this iteration of the future. Transport yourself through time, and let anything and everything come to the surface. Reflect on the mental and emotional state of achievement, the overall vibration. Living with a clearer mind, a more comfortable body, amplified energy, whatever the case may be. Embrace this feeling as if you already have it, picture it in your mind’s eye, see yourself enjoying it and embodying it. While in this state, think about your “why.” Why is change so important to you? Keep asking why and drill down. Why do I want to lose weight? To look better. Why do I want to look better? To find a date. Why do I want to find a date? … etc. Sometimes we follow arbitrary suggestions because we know they’re “good for us,” which they are, but when there is no rhyme or reason, no passion, it can be difficult to stay the course. So, this is where behavior change begins. We start with the vision, figure out how our “why” aligns with our self-concept and values, and then break the big picture down into manageable pieces. Subtle shifts. Practical lifestyle modifications. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” -Vincent Van Gogh You can’t boil the ocean. Come up with one commitment you can make today that will bring you closer to that November 23rd version of yourself. Something that is sustainable and realistic. Habit change and transformation do not have to be a grueling nor punitive endeavor. Lose the archaic precept that the prize is only redeemed through hard work and suffering. Dispel the notion that pain and grind and self-abuse are necessary for true accomplishment. What if success could be easier, dare I say… enjoyable? And healthy at the same time? Fun and Flexibility We sip out of water jugs lined with the times of day for when we are supposed to drink a certain quantity. Smart watches track our steps. Phone apps calculate our calories. Measurements. Metrics. Don’t we have enough of that in our lives? While it is definitely helpful to have benchmarks and objectives and frameworks, the rigidity and counting can start to feel obsessive and taxing. Plus, when we aim for perfection, and fall short by eating one cookie (when we said we would eat none), it is easy to throw in the towel and eat all of the cookies, because we convince ourselves that “all hope is lost.” However, if we are gentler, taking note of why we didn’t hit our target, that information can be used to set things up differently and more effectively the next time. Instant Victories Write a manifesto, meditate on it, and act as if it already exists. Because it does in the future. We just haven't received it yet. Notice the sensations and what is going on in your body as you engage in the practices you choose to implement (physical activity, meditation, etc.). Pay attention to how you feel in the smaller moments of victory rather than casting such a long net and losing yourself in the seemingly faraway end result. How is this behavior serving you today? The benefit may lie in empowerment, knowing you are making changes and taking personal agency. Trust yourself and your abilities. Find ways to raise self-efficacy. Social Support Take stock in the company you keep. Spend time with healthy people who have what you want and who encourage you on your journey. Some aspects of your lifestyle may need to change if you want to change. When you are surrounded by people who shame exercise and make fun of those dedicated to wellness, that narrative will become yours and you will live accordingly. Because no matter what your intentions, if you hang out in the barbershop long enough, you're going to get a haircut. The Power of Ritual Ten years ago when I first tried to alter my cigarette-smoking patterns, the e-cigarette never worked for me. I missed flicking the ash, the smell of real smoke, exhaling out of my car window, leaving the bar to go outside with the smokers, my hoodie smelling like cigarettes. All of these sensations sustained my addiction. Now, I see that certain sensory experiences can also accompany positive behavior patterns. Being mindful of the way my yoga mat smells, the sound of meditative music, the sweat dripping into my eyes, the after-class shower washing away the grime and grit. Tactile motion, space, surroundings, all of it can be so sensual. Paying attention to what you hear, taste, see, smell, feel, in the moment is powerful and this becomes the ritual. You look forward to these details because they are part of your safe space, and even if everything else is going crazy in your life, you know that one thing will be consistent, three times a week (or whatever you decide). Wear that headband you love or buy a brand new water bottle to use just for this practice. Almost like a Pavlovian response, hearing the people around you breathing in and out to let you know what's coming, making it a familiar space, but yet, a brand new exploration each time. Let there be impromptu moments. Rituals don't have to be dogmatic. Routines offer structure, while some actions fly free. Find a fun balance and learn what works for you personally. It's like a dance. It doesn't have to be perfect, and spontaneity can do wonders. Keep fine-tuning your practices and stay aware of what works and what doesn't. Laugh at yourself and say, Oh my God. Here I am trying to work on being late and now I’m sitting in traffic because I somehow convinced myself it will only take me an hour to get there knowing full well, it would take at least an hour and a half. Silly me! I'll do better next time. Always come back to your “why” to help you stay on track. Realize how this behavior change fits in with the rest of your life rather than obsessing about the outcome. When you feel lost, envision the future version of you. Praise yourself for taking intentional action every day. As you start to believe in yourself, realizing that you can do it, this will be the fuel that helps you stay on track, or course-correct when you find yourself veering a little too far off. If you want help with planning your next steps toward making your vision a reality, schedule an inner space activation with me!


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