How do you want your future to look?
Really pause and give yourself time to think about that. Where do you see yourself one year from today? A lot can change in a year. Are you ready to create your future?
Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone to make your dreams a reality? It may not be easy. Change is rarely easy. But will your future self thank you for doing it anyway?
When making a change, there a few steps that help.
First, believe you can change.
If that sounds basic, it’s because it is but it’s also very important. Go back to that vision of how you want your future to look. Where are you? Who is with you? What are you wearing? How do you feel?
Now ask yourself, “Do I think this is possible?” To paraphrase Henry Ford, whatever your answer, you’re probably right. But remember that a lot can change in a year.
Think back to what you were doing one year ago today. Has a lot changed since then or does today feel just like that day? I’m willing to bet that your life one year ago looked considerably different than the one you’re leading today. Kids get older, jobs change, pandemics happen. A lot can change in a year and if that much changed in the past year, a lot can change in the coming year as well.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” -Henry Ford
People tend to underestimate how much they will change in the future. Years ago, I read about a Harvard study that calls this the “end of history illusion” and I think about it all the time. In the study, people were asked how much they had changed in the past 10 years and how much they thought they would change in the next 10 years. People were really good at remembering how much they had changed but vastly underestimated how much they would change in the future.
It’s hard to imagine that our outlooks, values, or preferences could change that much in the future but we should acknowledge that they can. Which brings me back to the question: how do you want your future to look and feel?
Second, visualize it.
Come back to that idea from the beginning. How do you want your future to look? Pause again and give yourself time to think about it. In an ideal world, what are you doing one year from today? Get really specific. Think about each of your senses in this future version of yourself.
What do you see? Are you inside or outside? Alone or with other people? Are you in a yoga studio? Where are you?
What can you physically feel? Is it warm or cold? How does the ground feel beneath your feet? How do your clothes feel against your skin?
What do you hear? Are you in a loud environment or is it quiet? Can you hear nature or other humans? Children laughing?
What do you smell? The salty air near an ocean? Fresh baked good in a bakery? Flowers? Your favorite meal cooking? The earthy smell of a forest?
What do you taste? The strong taste of coffee? A celebratory glass of champagne with the tiniest little bubbles? A calming cup of tea? A recipe you just mastered?
But maybe most importantly, how do you feel emotionally? Standing in this future version of yourself, how do you feel? Maybe you are proud of yourself for achieving something you initially thought was impossible. Maybe you’re abundantly happy! Maybe you’re self-confident and charismatic. Maybe you’re the calmest, most relaxed version of yourself that you’ve ever experienced.
How do you feel? Imagining these feelings will even make you feel some of them right now. Notice if your vision makes you smile or sigh with relief. Notice how your future self helps you feel better in the present moment.
After you’ve let your brain run wild, dream, create, and manifest, write it down so every couple of weeks you can peek back for a refresher.
Visualizing what you want makes it feel possible. It makes it feel real. And it helps you believe in yourself.
Third, take (imperfect) action.
Now that you know how you want your future to look and feel, take action! What can you do today to take your first step toward that future self? Send an email. Change a habit. Sign up for the class. What is your first step?
The first step doesn’t have to be perfect. It might not even be the best first step but without taking any action, we stay exactly where we are right now. Choosing imperfect action moves us forward and teaches us that we are brave enough to reach out toward our goals, toward our future self.
In the Stacey Stufflebeam Yoga membership program, we work on self-confidence, believing in ourselves, and creating our futures both on and off the mat. Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get in on the love or give the membership a try. The first week is free so you can figure out if it’s the right fit for you.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Go get ‘em! I’ll be right here cheering you on!