Change is hard. Whether it’s starting a new job, moving to a new city, changing a habit, or modifying your daily routine, it’s hard to both make changes and to make them a permanent part of your life. There are many strategies I use to help me implement change and one is a simple question. In this post, I’ll introduce you to a fun game I play when struggling with following through on a commitment, feeling uninspired or unmotivated, or when I want to make changes in my life immediately.
If you want to live your best life and/or embark on a journey of personal development, change is an integral part of that journey. Change is how we grow and develop. It’s how we evolve and become the best versions of ourselves. Whether you want to change your entire life or change just one part of it, this simple tool will help.
How Routines Limit Our Ability to Change
We can easily get caught up in the routines and mundaneness of life. Get up, have coffee, get the kids to school, go to work, exercise, cook dinner, blah, blah, blah, go to bed, do it all again. But on those days when we have a moment to think and dream, we remember we have goals and things we want to do better or differently.
According to Psychology Today, there are many things that limit our ability to make changes stick. It requires extra effort, resilience, and support is a nice additional bonus. We can set ourselves up for failure in lots of ways. Once we’ve “failed,” we don’t want to try again. The truth is, “failure” is all about perspective.
How To Change Your Life by Taking Different Actions
If you want to change your life, you have to change your actions. This includes the actions you take every hour of every day. Changes don’t come to fruition without effort and consistent action.
You don’t get fit by working out one time.
You don’t make a relationship work by cooking one meal or having one date night.
And you don’t get the dream job by sending out one resume (at least, not usually).
So, how do you find the energy to focus on your dreams and the person you really want to be when you are so busy getting through the day?
The Question That Will Help You Change Your Life
Ask yourself, What would my future self do (WWFSD)?
And act accordingly.
This is such an easy approach to making changes in your life that it’s almost comical.
And it works for SO many situations!
Examples of How to Change Your Life Immediately
The following sections provide just a few examples of how you can change your life in various ways. While the examples are related to daily decisions, this question can be used to change any aspect of your life.
Let’s talk about how to change your life by changing your confidence and assertiveness.
Maybe you are on the phone with someone that sucks the life out of you but you haven’t figured out how to distance yourself from them yet.
Ask yourself, What would my future (stronger, braver, more confident) self do?
She wouldn’t put up with that shit is what she would do. Pretend you are her just for a moment. What will it feel like to have that level of confidence? Maybe she would be very direct and tell the person how soul-sucking they are. Or maybe she would take a gentler approach and just say she needs to hang up now.
And then do it or some variation thereof.
Pretend you are playing a role (your future self role) and act it out in real time. Before you know it, you will have become your future self. What?! Mind Blown!
Acting in accordance with our future self is a great way to remain focused on our goals. When we just don’t feel like we have the energy to continue, we can ask our future selves to step in and run the show.
About to eat that chocolate cake that doesn’t align with the 10 lbs you need to lose? What would your future, more fit and self-controlled self do? Yeah, she’d walk away and know the immediate gratification of eating that piece of yumminess would not be equal to the amount of sacrifice necessary to become (or maintain) your healthier, more self-controlled future self.
Step away from the cake.
Don’t feel like working out? I feel ya. But what would your future, more fit, and disciplined self do? She’d get those workout clothes on and get to it!
Want to start your own business someday? What would your future self do today to help get you there? Maybe she would save more money and not buy those new shoes. Or maybe she’d take a step toward that business. If it’s a product she wants to create, maybe she would spend her time today thinking through the best way to get that product to market. You don’t have to start the business today, you just have to think about what your future self might do in this situation and then do it.
Why It Works
Here’s why it works.
You likely know what you need to. There is just something stopping you – insecurity, fear, confidence, or indecisiveness. But you know who you want to become. And we’ve all played make-believe at some point in our life so you have the skills to do this. It’s really just a matter of playing make-believe. “Playing” make-believe takes the pressure off of the current you.
It seems weird for a grown-ass human to be playing make-believe right? But don’t we all do it every day? Every time we go to a job we hate and do what we are told, we are playing make-believe. Every time we fake it during sex, we are playing make-believe. And every time we are being nice to someone we really don’t like, yup, that’s make-believe. Why not use it to your advantage?
Start playing make-believe in a positive way – a way that helps you accomplish your goals and be more successful in life. Even if you modify just one decision a day by thinking “What would my future self do?”, all of those singular decisions will add up. Before you know it, you’ll be making decisions not based on thinking about your future self, but because that future self is who you have become.