Cabin in the woods of Vermont with enough land for ATVs? Check. Beautiful, healthy third child? Check. Build, own, and hold an office building as an asset? Check. These are all things I wrote down on my Future Self worksheet over three years ago that came to fruition in the past couple of years. The Future Self is one of the most impactful tools that I’ve ever used to make my dreams for the future a reality. You can too.
One of the coolest things about the Future Self is that it gets you to think differently and be purposeful about your goals. The Future Self is your North Star, your navigation, that will bring your dreams into clear focus so that you are not simply floating through life with no paddle, and no direction.
The Future Self is about creating the life that you want. Think big! This is not a time to think small or put limits on yourself. Where will you be in three years? What do you want your life to look like by then? The Future Self is your guide for where you are going, for what you’re going to do, what is going to show up, and who you are going to become. The possibilities are endless. It’s your life; you control your destiny.
The Future Self is broken into six categories:
- PROFESSIONAL – While this part can be financial, it also includes your career and business. What is your next career step? What do you want your work-life integration to look like? Are you self-employed? Do you need to find a new company that aligns better with your values? Do you want to start a side hustle?
- FINANCIAL – How much money do you want to make? Do you want to make a specific amount per month in passive income? How often and how much do you want to invest? Do you need to get out of debt? How much money do you want to give each year? Do you have a net worth goal?
- PHYSICAL – How do you want to look and feel? Write down what you are going to DO to achieve that. This can be tied to a weight, body fat percentage, or a physical accomplishment such as running a marathon or attending a yoga retreat. How many days a week do you want to exercise? Do you have specific health goals like lowering your blood pressure or increasing flexibility?
- SOCIAL – This is the play part of your life – the fun, recreation, and non-familial relationships. How many vacations do you want to take over the next three years, and more specifically, where? How often do you get together with friends for coffee? How many play dates do you and your kids go to each month? Do you want to start volunteering?
- FAMILY – What does your family structure look like? Do you want to have children? Get married (or divorced)? Have a better relationship with your in-laws? Share you family goals with your family! Some of the biggest arguments happen when there is a lack of communication and clarity about what everyone wants out of the relationship or life. Make sure you’re in sync with your partner and your family.
- SPIRITUAL – Spirituality goes beyond religion. Spirituality is about understanding that the world is much bigger than you (believe it or not, you are just an insignificant speck in the grand scheme of the universe). There is more to life than you and to the external. Get outside yourself. Will you start a mediation practice? A gratitude journal? How many times will you attend church each month? Do you have a ritual for reminding yourself to keep an open heart?
There are a few best practices to keep in mind as you are creating your Future Self:
- Think about what you want your life to look like in three years. Three year increments work well!
- Write your vision out in the present tense, as if you have already accomplished those goals three years from now.
- Make sure you are using very specific, measurable goals. Bring everything back to a number.
- Place your Future Self where you can read it every day. Put it in your car, on your nightstand, on your refrigerator, or laminate it and put it in the shower!
By reading your Future Self each day, you bring awareness to where you want to go so your subconscious begins to pick up ways to help you achieve your goals and the life you want. More opportunities seem to show up, momentum builds, and before you know it you’ve accomplished your goals well before the three year mark. Every morning, when you read your Future Self, you have an exact idea of where you are going. This is your life! Take control and set the intention of where you want to go.
As a side note, 45% of our daily habits are unintentional and unaccounted for. That’s almost half of our day where we are just drifting through life, doing the same thing we did the day before because it’s a habit, it’s comfortable. Put your pants on – left leg first. Brush your teeth. Drive to work. We’re on auto-pilot 45% of the time! If you don’t hold your habits accountable and create new, more beneficial habits, then you will stay stuck in mediocrity. Hold your habits accountable by starting with your Future Self.
The Future Self gives you a road map and a flash light. Whenever you get lost, stuck, or frustrated, go back to your Future Self (though you’re reading it daily so you shouldn’t forget, right?) and remind yourself where you are going. If you can sustain the habit of reading your Future Self daily, you’re already ahead of 95% of the population. And before you know it, those ideas that were only words on a sheet of paper, become reality.
But there’s a catch. Just reading your Future Self (for a week, two months, etc.) isn’t enough. You have to do it every day for years so that it becomes ingrained in your subconscious. Opportunities are going to show up. They are going to be uncomfortable. You might not feel ready for them. But you must act! The universe doesn’t just dump success in your lap. You have to set your intention and when pieces of your Future Self start showing up, you have to have the courage to attack it with all you’ve got. If you never stretch (good stress) yourself then you will never grow. You must find the optimal amount of stress and then push hard, recover (grow) and repeat. That’s the growth cycle. Stress, rest, repeat.
One last note: You may read your Future Self for a year or two and feel like nothing major has happened. Stick with it. It could be that last month where everything falls into place. And, there may be three year cycles where you just don’t hit your goal in three years. If they are important to you, you keep them on your Future Self for the next three years, and the three years after that until you achieve them. Life is a journey, not an end point.
Want a blank copy of the Future Self (and a copy of Adam’s Future Self)? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Even better, share your Future Self with us! It’s amazing what opportunities seem to magically appear when you are purposeful about reviewing your goals and sharing what you want out of life with others! The more you focus on your Future Self, your future goals, the more real that version of yourself becomes. It will only be a matter of time before you are living the life you imagined.