My aim in today’s blog is to define exactly how I’m developing a healthy relationship with the future, and how you can do the same.
At first glance, this topic can look contradictory to last week’s topic. If you’ll recall, we explored the idea of “future-tripping” - the thought that we will be happy when things are better, when we get the promotion, when we are living our dreams in their fullness. Chasing an elusive finish line we never reach. Now, I’m actually asking you to think about the future. So… what gives?
I was always a planner, list maker and goal setter. I had a 10 year plan by the time I was 15. Classical musicians notoriously have to be this way in order to be successful. To the extent that it creates discipline, goal-setting and thinking about the future can be positive. However, when that turns to obsessing, longing and craving for things to be other than they actually are - this can quickly turn toxic in our minds and bodies. Perhaps even more damaging is when we berate ourselves for not being “there” yet. In my own life, my future-orientation has been both a blessing and a curse. While having any eye to the future has helped me persevere and achieve, it has also made me sick, anxious and chronically stressed-out. Over the years, I’ve clarified how I relate to and think about the future. Making a few slight changes in how I think has created exponential change in my life.
There is a fine line between intentionally creating your future and chasing a future feeling. Additionally, there is a difference between passively longing for a different future and actively taking action to create that future. One path leads to your freedom, the other keeps you shackled in chains. Your future doesn’t have to look like your past, and your present can and should be the vehicle used to get you there. In order to create our future in an intentional way, we have to develop enough creativity to have vision rather than merely sight. While sight allows us to take in what already exists, vision requires us to exercise the power of our own creativity to imagine a future that is compelling enough to call us into more. What this “more” is for you depends entirely on your own creative makeup, and is the ultimate beauty of being human.
If you like the idea of developing vision in your own life, but aren’t sure where to start, one of the best places to turn is to ask yourself better questions. I’ve recently curated some helpful questions that transform my thinking and problem-solving abilities.
When I set goals, I ask myself, “does this goal make me feel excited, or does it make me feel sick?” This takes practice to figure out and tune in to your own body, but it is so effective when you do. Whenever I feel unwell over a goal, it’s almost always because I’m in “longing” mode, especially around creative projects. The trick here is to make the goal smaller, more actionable, roll up your sleeves and do the next right thing. Nausea diverted!
I look at the dream version of my future self and ask, “what habits does this person have?” HABITS dictate how glorious our life can really be. Your life will only rise to the height of your best habits. Let that sink in. Habits are the backbone of any long-term goals you have, and as such, they deserve your attention. From the smallest habits like, eating more vegetables and drinking water, to the bigger habits like investing money and valuing your own time enough to carve out calendar space to give your dreams the time to thrive.
One of the reasons I love artists so much is that they are masters of harnessing their imaginations to create the future. We all have this power and can unleash it on any and every situation in our lives. I believe that you and I can build better futures for ourselves and the world, so let’s start by building better habits today.
In love and light,