Future You Is A Twat


Want to see something weird?

Picture your ideal holiday. Go on, I’ll wait.

It could be anything. Your wildest dream. Where would you go? What would you see and do? What kind of experiences would you have?

Got something?

Okay. Now what if I said I’m going to wipe your memory afterwards.

You can go anywhere and do anything. But you won’t remember any of it when you come home.

Does that affect your choice of holiday?

If you’re like most people, the initial question conjured images of some great adventure. Climbing Machu Picchu or swimming with dolphins, or whatever… The point is you immediately thought about the memories you could create.

Me. Also Machu Picchu.

When I told you you wouldn’t remember it though, its likely that your plans changed. It’s likely that you switched them to something more shallow and hedonistic, more focussed on pleasure in the moment. Because making memories wasn’t an issue anymore.

This is the difference between your experiencing self, and your remembering self.

Here’s another example. I show you a list of movies that includes both silly comedies and serious, “proper” films like Schindler’s List.

If I ask you to choose one to watch in two weeks time, there’s a good chance you’ll choose a serious film you perceive as more intellectually stimulating or educational. But if ask you to choose a film to watch immediately, you’re far more likely to choose the comedy.

Instant gratification wins over long term benefit.

We all do this. And it affects our health: We make unhealthy choices now because we want a quick buzz and because future consequences (like getting fat) are too gradual and too far off to matter right now.

To make matters worse, we excuse these behaviours by believing we’ll make healthy choices in the future to compensate. We attribute qualities to our future selves, like willpower, even as we are demonstrating our lack of those qualities right now.

You may want to be slim, and your remembering self may want to look back upon a life lived in a slim and fit body. Your experiencing self wants to live in a fit body too, but it also wants to have the taste of chocolate in its mouth right now.

So, how do you combat your twatty future self?

Your best weapon is knowing they exist, and planning ahead.

– Know your willpower, however strong it seems now, will be weak again, so don’t have food in your house unless you want to eat it.

– Know your ability to make good decisions is finite and degrades as the day goes on, so get your training session in early if you can.

– Know that as motivated as you feel right now, your tired and uninspired future self may not be so keen.

And last but not least, get help (for example, you could take advantage of our free week offer and try out our Tribe classes), because not even the best version of you gets it right every time.


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