Posted by: universitymindlab | September 1, 2008

Past Self ‘Good’ to Future Self

Past Self “Good” to Future Self

By Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

How many times have you said to yourself or to someone else; “Ah, I am so glad that I did that, so I don’t have to do it now!” Or what about, “Man, I wish I would have done that earlier, now I’m stuck!”

We have all had times in our lives where our past actions have either rewarded us or made us suffer from the consequences. Some people refer to putting tasks off as procrastination. Others, as doing things at the last minute. When you do complete tasks in a timely matter and long before deadlines I like to refer to it as the past self being good to the future self.  I admit it’s a habit that requires daily vigilance. Yet it also yields daily rewards. It can be practiced anywhere, at anytime and pertain to anything. It is a way of being kind to yourself; but in the future.

Of course it requires balance. You don’t want to overload yourself with daily activities only related to your future. However, if done correctly, it may only take a few minutes or an hour or two (depending upon the project) out of your day.

At work it could be tackling minor tasks early so it leaves ample time to handle ‘heavier tasks.’ It could even involve setting up everything you will need to get started the next day at the office so you can be productive right away. At home it can be as simple as having all of your clothes dry-cleaned for the entire week or meals prepared for breakfast and dinner the next day.

As a writer and blogger I often generate more material than my agreed upon amount (self-contract) so I can have blog posts a week or two in advance and pages for my chapter when something else comes up, such as an unexpected invitation to lunch or the beach. The beauty of this habit is that you can tailor it to your unique circumstances.

Some examples of the past self being good to the future self are:

Working on tasks daily so they remain manageable – Exercising daily – Setting aside funds for a vacation – Programming your DVR – Proper nutrition – A good night’s sleep – Car maintenance – Reservations and appointments to places with long waits –  Dental checkups – Saving and investing 10% or more of your income.

Developing the habit of looking out for your future well being is a very satisfying one to practice. It helps to reduce stress, maintain balance and demonstrates that you care about yourself. —- One thing I can guarantee is that your future self will thank you for it…..


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