Explore Your Future Self
With the advent of a fresh New Year we feel a natural impulse to pause, reflect and plan, but let’s be honest, few of us are feeling fresh in ourselves with the onset of January. Post-Christmas blues loom large, we can feel depleted by the excess, the indulgences and late nights, and while we might like to turn over a new leaf, there isn’t a real resurgence of energy until the rebirth of spring in a few months’ time. Here’s a concept that might help you make some changes in a gentle and life-affirming way:
Say hello to your future self!
When I am working towards a goal and I find myself tempted by something that sabotages my long term progress in the desired direction, I find the concept of “past”, “present” and “future self” helpful. Your past self is everything you have done in the past – the person you were yesterday, five years ago, twenty years ago. When it comes to goals, know that you can’t change your past self, you can only change how you feel about it. Your present self is the person you are right now, in this moment, today. This is where your control lies – you have the power to effect who you are right now, your choices in this moment! Your future self is the person you are becoming, tomorrow, next month, in ten years time. Understand that your future self is the culmination of every decision your present self makes – I make better decisions when I consciously make that connection. Clearly this only works when you are being mindful. Living on autopilot robs you of the opportunity to use this strategy.
When faced with a decision that impacts on your goal, hold in your mind’s eye how each choice could affect the person you are becoming. Does the choice you’re about to make support who you aspire to be? Relate this back to past decisions and the results of those actions – learn from those choices. Can you delay gratification in this moment to nurture your ‘future’ self, even if your ‘present’ self is crying out? Is there a way that you could find satisfaction in this moment that doesn’t then sabotage the person you aspire to be?
Try to strike a balance between caring for your present self and your future self. When making goals, meditate on your future self – who is this person you are becoming, allow them to have a voice and listen to them! Hold this image at the front of your mind. Give this desire top priority and approach decision making mindfully. Know that the choice is yours and that by making better choices MOST of the time, you will get much closer to becoming the person you want to be. I turn forty this year and there is nothing like a significant date, event or milestone birthday to give you a kick up the tush. I’ve spent a lot of time conjuring this image of who I want to be at forty. I can see her, hear her and feel her presence. I often find myself asking ‘what would she do?’ and I know that if I make the same choice, I am taking one step closer to being that kick-ass best version of myself.
Please remember to be kind to yourself. It can take time to carve the path you want to be on, so be persistent and compassionate. Acknowledge too if you need a little help realising your vision. If this has been something you’ve wanted for a long time and what you’re doing isn’t working, then enlist some support. Equally, if this is new and you don’t know how to tackle it – reach out for help.
Suzy is a mother of two, an author, Chartered Psychologist and Coach. She specialises in self-care, helping people manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance. It was her life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of her father that sparked her passion for self-care which she now teaches to her clients, young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges. Suzy is on the editorial board for Motherdom Magazine, the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics and is a founding member of the ‘Nourish’ app. She figure-skated her way through her childhood, growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and now makes her home in hills of Hertfordshire, UK. Her first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ published by Aster came out in 2017, ‘Stand Tall Like a Mountain: Mindfulness & Self-Care for Children and Parents‘ and ‘The Little Book of Self-Care’ are both hot off the press.
Join Suzy Reading at Gazelli House on Friday 31st of January at 11am for Gentle January – Nourishing Yourself Through Times of Change. Find out more and book your place here. You can order a signed copy of The Self-Care Revolution by Suzy Reading here.