Say hello to your future self RETIREMENT

by Bev Bachel

Actor Jim Carrey wrote his future self a $ 10 million check for “acting”.

Polar explorer Ann Bancroft spent her days in a walk-in freezer in preparation for skiing Antarctica.

Singer Jennifer Hudson named her dogs Grammy and Oscar to remind her that she had award-winning plans for her future self.

By focusing on their future selves and their hopes and dreams, these individuals nudged the universe in their favor, and so can you.

You only better.

When I started thinking about retirement, I attended a presentation by Kelly McGonigal, health psychologist, lecturer at Stanford University, and author of The Willpower Instinct.

During her talk, she emphasized that willpower is a competition between our present selves, who act impulsively to meet immediate needs, and our future selves, who strive to be better, someone who
puts our long-term wellbeing before short-term satisfaction.

She also said that at some point most of us toss our future selves under the bus by giving in to what our present selves want.
Think about it. We all know that saving is important for retirement. However, around half of households aged 55 and over have no retirement savings. [1]

And while everyone says their health matters, 70 percent of the US does
Adults are overweight, which is a threat to both their current and future health. So how do you bring your present self into focus so you stop procrastinating the very things that your future self will thank you for?

Here are five suggestions:

Let your mind wander. But instead of letting it run wild, put it on a leash by engaging in “positive constructive daydreams,” where you plan and rehearse what’s to come and focus on playful, powerful activities that will build your future itself make happy. Where are you? Who are you with? What are you doing? Why are you doing this? Add as much detail as possible.

Call yourself. On New Year’s Day 1999, two friends and I took part in a workshop on the subject of “Nudge the Universe”. During the workshop we were asked to choose a new name for ourselves that would reflect our dreams for the new century. I chose Author Artist and had signed a contract for my first book within 12 months.

Request input. Ask friends, family, and co-workers what they envision for your future self in the years and decades to come. Do they see you continue to live in your current home, shrink to a smaller location, or add a second home in a different climate? Or, they envision moving from full-time to more flexible work options before fully retiring, or giving up your career entirely in favor of a long-cherished dream like becoming a graphic writer or joining the Peace Corps.

Rethink what you own. We are what we wear, but so often our clothes reflect who we were and not who we want to be. And sometimes the homes and possessions that once gave us joy become burdensome. An easy way to let go of your past self is to ask, “Is this something my future self would wear, own, or love to do?” If not, let it go.

Create a vision board. What should your life look like in the next three to five to 50 years? Cut out words and pictures from magazines that capture your vision and stick them on the billboard. Then, set up your vision board so that you can see it frequently, ideally every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed. Or, create a vision board on Pinterest that’s just for your eyes.

A picture worth 100 years

If you want to have some fun with your future self, try AgingBooth, a free app that lets you see immediately what you might be like 10, 20, or even 50 years from now. While the aged photos the app generates are for entertainment purposes only, as you age well at 75, 85 or 100 years old, it can motivate you to do exactly what McGonigal recommends, to take better care of yourself today ( or look like hell?).

And for that your future self will thank you.

Bev Bachel is a freelance writer and author of What do you really want How to Set a Goal and Aim for It! A guide for teenagers. She imagines her future self-life in Paris.



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