For 2019 – Let’s be resolved to grow, but to be kind to ourselves in the process!

In our classes we frequently talk about what we call the “Future Self.”  You know the Future Self: that’s the person you are going to be sometime in the future. In many cases, the Future Self looks a little bit different than your view of your Current Self.  And, what’s most interesting about the Future Self is that it rarely seems to have any problems implementing any of the behavioral changes that your Current Self struggles with.

When summoned, your Future Self might sound something like this:

“Next month, I will resist all of the after Christmas sales!”

“After the holidays, I will never have desserts again!” (Or)

“After this party, I will only have one cookie each day for the rest of my life…”

“Starting New Year’s Day, I will reduce my social media to 10 minutes each day. I promise.”

“After I recover from this hangover, I will begin going to the gym at least three times every week, so that gym membership will pay for itself!”

“After this season of Game of Thrones, I will give up HBO so I’m not tempted to binge-watch shows ever again!”

In fact, you might say all of those things at the same time! The Future Self tends to have superhuman qualities and seems to have little awareness of your current minor problematic behavioral tendencies.

Well, at this time of year, your Future Self can get a good workout. A traditional hobby in our culture is the New Year’s Resolution. As we roll into the end of this year and a new year is just on the horizon, you will begin to notice that little Future Self critter beginning to make its presence known.  Especially during that week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Additionally, the marketers and merchants of the world know all about your Future Self, and my Future Self, and their relationship with the new year.  They have been preparing for us and our Future Selves for a while.  And in the coming month we will get bombarded by messages that prey upon this tendency that we all have: they will sell us on items and products, or memberships or long-term contracts that will bind us into paying for things we will rarely use to their full potential.  And we will go along with this by making all sorts of interesting internal agreements and rationalizations with ourselves about why this time will be different than all of the other times.

I’m not saying that people aren’t capable of sticking with the plans they’ve made or the deals they’ve cut with themselves.  But it is interesting to note that when I bring up the concept of resolutions in a class, participants tend to laugh.  When I ask why they are laughing, they actually say, “Yeah, I make resolutions all the time and they rarely work.” It is as if we know this is a fundamentally flawed concept that tends not to be effective, but heck—we figure we’ll try it anyway.

So, why bother?

Should we just give up?

Nope—I don’t think so.

I think if we are armed with a little bit of knowledge about how humans make changes and how we work towards our goals, we can be more successful in our efforts. I also like to think it helps us to be a little kinder or gentler with both our current and Future Self when we struggle or falter. The new year is an arbitrary time to begin working on goals (resolution is just a fancy word for a goal or for making a change in your life), but as long as we’re going to do it, let’s take a little time to give our Future Selves a good start.

On behalf of the FHI team, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season and we look forward to serving you in 2019.