Focusing on my Future Self

Published on Jul 21, 2020

I drank too much caffeine too late in the day yesterday. So I fell asleep at 1:30. So I got up about 8:30, too late to do my morning routine before starting work. Now I’m in a bad mood. It all started with the decision to drink a bunch of iced tea in the mid afternoon. One small decision that is still hurting me almost 24 hours later.

I thought to myself at the time that it was risky to drink that much caffeine that late in the day. But I talked myself into it, telling myself it wasn’t that much caffeine and it wasn’t that late in the day. I didn’t think enough about my future self. Myself in 8 hours, tossing and turning and frustrated and angry at himself. If I had thought ahead, I might not have had the extra caffeine.

Or what if I had thought further forward, to myself in three months. What would he do? He would be getting up early every day to have time for a strong morning routine. So he would have to be going to sleep early. So he would have to be setting himself up to sleep early. So he would not be drinking two tall glasses of iced tea at 3 PM.

Ultimately when I do something that conflicts with my better impulses, I am voting for my more dissolute, aimless self. I am neglecting the better side of myself, the emerging future self that I am working on. The answer, as Benjamin Hardy says in his new book Personality Isn’t Permanent, is to filter my decisions through my goals, with my true long term desires in mind. To ask if the decision is consistent with my goals, and to change it if it isn’t. Otherwise I’ll be taking actions without really getting anywhere.