The most powerful exercise I’ve ever done – the one that makes my transformational changes stick year after year – that’s fun and full of possibilities and hope – that I’ve centered my coaching around…is how to create your future self.
Creating a vision of your future self is so much more than just setting goals…it’s the answer to questions like:
✨ Is this as good as it gets?
✨ Is this all there ever is?
✨ I’ve worked so hard for (gestures at seemingly nothing)…this?
✨ Am I ungrateful for wanting more from my life???
You know…shit that matters and makes all the difference between going through the motions day in and day out vs. living your rebelliously fulfilling life.
And when you create a super detailed vision of your future self and form a loving relationship with her, she becomes your #1 mentor and always has your back because she is NOT messing around when it comes to her life’s contentment.
There are three steps for how to create your future self.
Pick an age (I personally like using my 80-yo self because little old ladies crack me up) and get super details.
We’re talking down to the thread count of your sheets here. Why? Because the more detailed we get, the more our brain will partner with us to make it become a reality.
Now – there’s something to be aware of here and it’s that your brain is going to want to tell you your past predicts your future and that’s simply not true. The future doesn’t exist yet…your brain’s just trying to keep you “safe” (legit – it’s a survival mechanism) by keeping you in what it knows i.e. the same old same old.
And while we want to thank our brain for that…we don’t need to listen to it during this exercise because your past does not predict your future.
I want you to suspend your past, your current reality, what you think is or is not possible, etc., and DREAM.
Dream about what’s possible.
Choose an age (I start with my 80-yo self) and ask yourself things like – what makes her feel fulfilled and content? What is she still excited to learn? How does she spend her days? What does her home environment look like and feel like? What makes her laugh? Who are her ride-or-die friends?
What is going really well in your life NOW that you want to make sure continues? And the opposite – what isn’t and what might it look like to not bring that forward into your future self?
Bring future you to life – give her personality and depth. The easiest and most fun way I’ve found to do this is by creating a Pinterest board (you can see mine here) and then viewing it often.
The next step is to take this person you’ve created – your future self – and start building a relationship with her.
You can do this by writing letters to and from your future self (you can use a service like FutureMe.org to even schedule these letters from your future self). These can be short or long or in-between.
I used to journal daily and be in conversation with my future self but now I just do it in my head…I’m not really a great journaler but you can do it however which way feels best and doable for you.
You can ask her a few times a day, “Hey – am I living today in a way that makes future me happy + proud?”.
You can start asking her for advice and help in decision-making! This is exactly how I made my 80-yo future self into my #1 mentor.
Doing this is like building any other muscle or habit. To start, give yourself a reminder, and then over time it just becomes part of who you are.
You become the woman who lives life in such a way that your future self is happy, proud, fulfilled, and deeply content.
Dreaming and scheming are all great and fun but the actual magic happens when we take inspired action.
One of the ways we get shit done FAST at my day job (senior software development project manager) is by identifying gaps and creating plans and actions to close the gaps.
This is no different. There absolutely will be gaps in who you are today and who you want to be in the future.
It’s not good, bad, right, or wrong…it just is.
With an objective eye, identify your gaps and start thinking of ways you plan to close those gaps. I like to do this by prioritizing items into Now, Next, and Future.
What can I or do I want to do NOW (within the next month)? There should only be a few items prioritized in this category because we don’t want to overwhelm our brains (remember – your brain wants to keep you “safe”) or our lives by trying to do allthethings.
What do I want to tackle NEXT (within the next quarter – 1 year)? Again – there should only be a few items in this category. We want to give your brain just enough without overwhelming it.
And finally, what am I willing to put off into the FUTURE (greater than a year away)? This doesn’t mean you never think about these things or take tiny actions that start closing the gap but you’re not focused on them NOW because you’ve said you’re willing to wait.
This is where working with a coach like me will help get you there faster. I help you quickly parse through and create loose plans, take action quickly and evaluate where you may need to course-correct or adjust.
Remember – your brain’s primary objective is to keep you safe and that means keeping you in the same routines EVEN IF they don’t serve you well.
We want to partner with our brain, remind it often that we’re “safe”, and still take intentional action to close the gaps between who we are today and how we’re feeling about and living our lives to who we want to be in the future and how we want our lives to feel and be.
Do this and your life will start to transform…guaranteed. Get the support you need, take intentional action, and practice building the muscle.
Your future self will always have your back and is always rooting you on.
You’ve got this.
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Stop wishing & start doing; Don't leave life to chance
Jen Vertanen is a Life Design Coach for action-takers who are ready to "do the work" to fully love their damn lives