It would seem that we have collectively convinced ourselves and one another that the future, which exists only in our mind, will be so much better than the present moment. It’s a mind-trap! It keeps our attention and focus trapped on the level of thinking and we’re missing out on fully living our life in the moment.
As much as the mind tries to convince us differently, we can’t “figure out” the future. It’s really not possible. Instead, it is just our mind telling stories – doing what it has evolved to do. It is pulling on what it knows from the past, mixing in a bit of the present, and then convincing you that whatever story it predicts about the future is true. It may feel real, but it is not true. It’s not possible for it to be true.
You can imagine what you might want and how you might feel in this imagined future, based on who you are at this exact moment in time. But that version of “you” in the future will not be the same version of “you” in this moment.
You will have gone through things between now and then. You will have gained new insights and will likely have experienced a shift in your core values. You may have different people, different situations, and different priorities in your life. You will have faced challenges and perhaps encountered loss. Everything you know today could change tomorrow - in any one of a million ways.
So, an important question to ask yourself is this: "Whose future am I planning for exactly? The “me” of today, tomorrow, next week, or next year?"
In truth, we have absolutely no idea how we may interpret, respond to, or feel about anything beyond this moment in time. It is a story our mind is telling us, one that we’re choosing to believe.
The mind is trying to be helpful, to provide stability and help you feel prepared to face whatever may come. And to stay safe in the process. That is the main job our mind has – to ensure our survival. But, it can’t possibly imagine who or how you will be next year because it has no idea what you will go through and encounter between now and then.
So, what can you do, instead of focusing on the future? You can set a course in the direction you are feeling pulled to explore, while not getting too attached to what the final destination will look like. You can listen to your preferences and inclinations and follow your intuition.
You can remain flexible with what comes your way and practice acceptance for that which is beyond your control. You can venture outside your comfort zone and try new things. You can set an intention on who you want to BE, rather than what you want to do and have, and allow that to act as a guiding force.
And you can practice tapping into your emotions. If you are feeling joyful, excited, loving, enthusiastic, or peaceful – it’s a pretty good indication that you’re on the right track. Our emotions can act as messengers.
When you experience anxiety and worry, it is a clear message that you are caught up in your thinking and out of the present moment. Return again and again to being present, to gratitude + appreciation, to acceptance, and to values-guided living.
Invest in the you of this exact moment. Uncover and nurture your core self, creating in the present moment the person you envision living your ideal future life. Yes, do the things on the list, make the plans, if that’s what you’re feeling pulled to do – but then let it go. “If it's out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too.”
When your energy and focus is on the future, on wanting what you don’t currently have, it can’t be used to create what you actually want to have, do, and be. Your future self will thank you for taking the time to invest in your present-moment self.
Wishing you a very Happy New Year - may your as-yet-to-be-determined future be magnificent!
Providing 1:1 coaching that blends psychology, brain-science, and elements of spirituality - learn more
Learn more about Bobbi Beuree, Halifax-based Coach + Facilitator
Bobbi Beuree, Certified CAN Coach + Facilitator is located in Halifax, NS, and provides interactive 1:1 coaching services, as well as corporate workshops.