My Future Self Will Thank Me

A while ago I heard someone say “Not replacing the empty toilet paper roll when you use the last of it, is a SELFISH ACT.” My self-narrative tells me that I’m not a selfish person, but the reality is that I’m often a low-energy person, and for me, “replacing” didn’t always follow “using up”. Hmmm… After reading this, I remembered it every time I used the last of the TP, and I found myself saying, “I’m NOT a selfish person, so I’ll replace this roll.” (extra credit if you noticed the inherent self-centeredness of this statement…)

So, okay, I wasn’t thinking about the needs of others as I congratulated myself on my selflessness. But I soon discovered a very nice consequence of this simple act: I rarely found myself without TP! That’s obvious, of course, but one has to be able to think ahead to see it. So, replacing the roll is being thoughtful to others, but also being thoughtful to my future self!

Recently I was reading about procrastinators and what’s going on in our minds. “Procrastinators have a very high opinion of their future selves.” That is, when something is hard or inconvenient or NOT A VIDEO GAME, I say to myself, “Tomorrow I’ll be more motivated to do ALL THE THINGS!” or “Future Holly will be able to NAIL the performance next week without having to practice this week.” (Note: when my chronic illness hands me a very low day, I can honestly and helpfully say, “I’ll be able to do this when I feel better.” That’s not procrastinating, it’s accepting the reality of a very low energy day.)

I shared this idea with my adult son who replied, “I often motivate myself to do some work by saying, ‘My Future Self Will Thank Me.’ ” Yes! That’s it! If I procrastinate today, I’m laying a heavier burden on Future Holly, but any work that I’m able to do today will make life easier for Future Holly and she’ll thank me!

This morning as I finished dressing for the day, I realized that I had made the choice to not shower today, but tomorrow. Then I did an unusual thing: I thought ahead to tomorrow and looked at what Future Holly had scheduled. “Oh, I’m going to be getting up early and leaving the house before I usually do. Saturday Holly will thank me for showering today, so she has one less thing to do in the morning.” Yes, for a person like me, undressing, showering, and re-dressing is WORK, but my future self will thank me for it.

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