This morning, my alarm clock went off at its usual time, 8:10 AM (I know, I’m spoiled rotten. Thank you, work from home gods.) The sweet sounds of ukelele floated through the room as I pressed the blinking red “snooze” button on my iPhone, silencing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” for a few more minutes (if you need a smile, listen to this song. I walked down the aisle to it!). As I snuggled into my pillow, I remembered I had the day off! As the joy of sleeping in filled my head with visions of pouncing through sleepy-cloud-land a bit longer, I remembered that Monday mornings I could go to a 9:30 Zumba class with one of my favorite instructors.
Suddenly, I was faced with a decision. I could stay in bed, curled up in my traveling gnome pajamas with a kitten wrapped around my head and a lazy tabby at my feet. I could enjoy my day off to the fullest by getting some extra Z’s, waking up later, around 10 AM, maybe even 11, with rays of sun peeking through the blinds. OR…. I could get out of bed, into the cold bedroom air, and put on my workout clothes. I could fill up my water bottle, grab my keys, and drive ten minutes to the gym, where I could jolt myself awake with loud latin music and screaming, sweaty women.
As I lay in bed negotiating with myself, I caught a glimpse of this book on my nightstand –The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More of It. This book was recommended to me by a friend, and I suddenly remembered one of the main points of this book – we all have a “now” self, and a “future” self. When we’re facing a willpower challenge, in my case, getting up and going to the gym, I tend to always think about my “now” self. My “now” self wants to stay in bed, to be lazy and warm, to not have to do any sort of ‘work’ on my day off. But what about my “future” self? My “future” self wants to fit into size 16 jeans, go on vacation to Thailand without fear of being ridiculed for my size, and to one day have healthy, happy pregnancies without being “high risk” because of my weight. My “future” self knows that I’ll feel great after a workout, and that’s the most important thing.
Seeing that book reminded me that I’d rather have what my “future” self was having – a healthier, happier future. So I got out of bed, into the cold bedroom air, put on my workout clothes, filled up my water bottle, drove to the gym, and jolted myself awake with loud latin music and screaming, sweaty women. My “future” self said “Thank You.”
When you’re faced with a decision, do you ever look at it as “now” self versus “future self”? You can also think about it like what would feel good now, versus what would feel good later. Most of the time, unless we’re really, really sick or emotionally not good, the “feel good later” will end up being the better deal. What do you think?