Sometimes (lots of times), it feels like our present needs and wants are at odds with our future needs and wants. We scrimp and save today in order to have a more financially secure future. We skip the Valentine’s Day chocolates in order to feel confident in a bikini come summer. Or we indulge in a Friday night Netflix marathon and are exhausted the next day.
Yesterday I shared a brief lesson on learning to love your present. But what about your future? You want to love that too, right? So how do we learn to love our present AND our future?
Did you happen to notice how my tips for learning to love your present seemed to be mostly focused on thinking about how great things will be in the future? It may not come as no surprise then, that today I’m going to help you love your future by encouraging you to think about TODAY.
What good is a bright future if every step along the way is agony? I know that great accomplishments take great sacrifice. Believe me, as a holder of 4 degrees (one a master’s) and a small business owner, I know all about making sacrifices today so that greater things can be achieved later on. But when the journey is complete agony, it can sorta make you begin to resent your future. And sometimes, once you get there you feel a little let down because you expected after such agony that you’d suddenly feel bliss! And the real shock comes when you are in the future and you realize that the future is actually the new present and you have to start all over again!
So today’s lesson is all about learning to love your future by loving today.
Basically, it’s an act of balance. Building in ways that you can enjoy today without completely derailing your plan. Think about your goals and think about the sacrifices you are making to achieve those goals. What are some small things you can do today that encourage your goal progress but also make the sacrifice a little easier?
If you are working hard to pay off debt, allowing yourself some mini-rewards for meeting smaller goals could be just what you need to stay excited and motivated. These don’t have to cost a lot of money (or any at all, for that matter). Maybe a low-cost mini-reward for paying off a credit card is a dinner out at a casual dining restaurant. Or a really low-cost mini-reward could be an inexpensive bottle of wine or making dessert to have after a nice home-cooked dinner. A no-cost mini-reward might be treating yourself to a DIY spa evening, complete with a long soak and pedicure.
Your situation might not lend itself well to mini-rewards, though. If you are working at a job you don’t love, for example, maybe making your commute to and from work more enjoyable would help. Find a radio show or podcast you love, or make an uplifting playlist to psych yourself up or help you unwind. Or perhaps ending each week with some “me time”, where you read in your favorite spot with a nice cup of tea or you have a girls’ night with a close friend would give you something to look forward to, making the week a bit more enjoyable.
Take some time to think about your own goals and how you can build in some ways to help keep you motivated and excited about the future. Start a new page in your journal and list your ideas. Now begin paring your ideas up with your short-term goals (1 month and 3 month). Once you reach those, your 6 month and 1 year goals are now actually 3 and 6 months away respectively! Plan some ways to keep the momentum going for those when the time comes.
Whatever you do, enjoy the journey. That will make achieving your goals that much sweeter.