Quite often, I encourage people to visualize their future in five years or ten years. I usually suggest that people try to visualize their perfect future so that they have a goal to work towards.
However, some people don’t thrive on looking forward at a goal. Instead of running toward something, they make more progress running from something.
Today, I want you to visualize something a little different. Try imagining your future if you don’t change some of your worst habits.
Perhaps your worst habit is overspending. If that’s the case, you might imagine a future where you don’t have enough savings for retirement or you’re unable to afford the home you’ve been planning on buying. Maybe you’ll be facing a complete financial meltdown. What does your life look like in five years if you don’t change?
Maybe you spend too much time at work twiddling your thumbs. If that’s the case, you’re likely to get passed up for promotions and you might even be someone that’s let go if times get tough. What does your future look like if you just keep taking the easy route at work?
Maybe it’s related to the food you eat. Maybe it’s about exercise.
All of us have a bad habit or two, one that, if continued, will lead us down a bad path. We often justify it by pushing that picture of our future to the back of our minds.
I know I certainly do that from time to time. I don’t exercise as much as I should, for starters. I tend to spend more than I should sometimes, and I certainly find myself “collecting” more than I should.
When I look at where the future of those habits is leading me, I don’t like to think about it. I don’t like to visualize myself as being in extremely poor health in my sixties. I don’t want to think about our financial wheels spinning in place in exchange for a bunch of stuff I don’t really need.
Those pictures make me uncomfortable, as they should. I don’t want to think about them.
Sometimes, though, that scary little reminder can be just the button pushing that I need. Fear, when used in the right way, can be a powerful motivator for positive change.
I don’t want to imagine myself in bad shape when my grandchildren are young. That thought worries me, but I can alleviate that worry by getting outside and moving around a little more.
I don’t want to imagine us ever spinning our financial wheels. Perhaps I really don’t need to back that Kickstarter project or buy that book.
Sometimes, a brighter future doesn’t mean the addition of good things. It just means the elimination of bad things.