How Our Future Can Change Our Present

Most of us live in a world that encompasses looking through a lens formulated by our past. Our past experiences, thoughts, actions and emotions shape the person we are today and how we view our world.  This is called perspective and shapes the thousands of assumptions we make in our life. At times, this can feel like dragging baggage around with us everywhere we go. The weight of our resentment, regret, guilt, grief, rejections, disappointment, failures and losses present as fear, suspicion, caution, reservation, and avoidance in our everyday lives. Such emotions and resulting behaviours slow us down, pull us backwards and prevent us from growth.

Knowing that we can take control and change this pattern of existence by imagining our future selves has the ability to change the course of our lives and impact how we live in the present.

Often in coaching our clients who are seeking to achieve goals or success, we ask ‘who do you need to be to make this happen’ or ‘what changes do you need to make now to become your ideal self?’. Let’s all try a little exercise together now and see how this new future-oriented perspective can change who we are in the present.

Option 1: Pick an age that you imagine being late in your life. You’re addressing a room full of people and talking about the journey you have been on to create your ideal life; perhaps a life full of love, a life that’s inspired and helped others, a life that’s accomplished your dreams, a life others wish to emulate.

Option 2: List down the dreams you’d like to accomplish in your life. Place these dreams on a timeline to indicate future milestones in your life. Imagine yourself at one of these significant milestone points. Here you have the opportunity to advise your present self of the lessons you need to learn and the person you need to be in the present to achieve your milestone.

Wow, your future self can advise your current self and the past doesn’t come into it! Take a moment to reflect on this exercise. How has it altered your perception of who you need to be right now? How has it highlighted the strengths, traits, qualities and values that you need to activate in your life today? What lessons has your future self shared with you that you can put into action immediately?

This shift in perspective is immensely empowering. Letting go of the baggage is (pardon the pun) a great weight off your shoulders. It’s liberating, refreshing, energising and joyful to feel it simply doesn’t matter anymore. What matters is who you are now and this mirrors who you wish to be in the future.

Over the next week try to remind yourself to change your past oriented perspective into the future oriented perspective and see what impact this has on your actions, thoughts, feelings, reactions and interactions.

 by Kristin McMaster, Masters in Nutrition, ICF member, Executive Health Coach

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