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Looking forward, looking back

I’m just back from an amazing holiday in Australia that we spent years planning and saving for. We saw koalas and kangaroos, drove along the Great Ocean Road, walked in the Blue Mountains and had the most fantastic ever New Year’s Eve in Sydney harbour.

Choosing what to do for NYE had been a bit of a dilemma: we could queue up from 8am to get one of the many free vantage points, or book an expensive cruise that meant we could enjoy the day and be guaranteed the best place for the fireworks and celebrations.

We went for the cruise and knew that we’d made the right choice from the moment we’d booked it. It was a stunning, once in a lifetime opportunity and created a great memory. It was the highlight of the holiday and well worth the money we spent on it.

What helped me make that choice was thinking about my ‘future self’. It’s a concept that I use quite often when I have to make decisions, ranging from fun things such as holidays to sensible things such as looking after my health and pension arrangements. I ask myself the question: ‘What can I do today that my future self will thank me for tomorrow?’

Of course I believe in making the most of now and not just think about the past or the future as you can’t change the past and the future hasn’t happened yet, but I do think it’s also very important to make wise decisions about your future – decisions that your future self will thank you for.

I’d like you to think about that future self next time you have to make a decision. Do you always say you’d love to learn a language? Then start it today so that in one year you’ll be able to speak that language and thank yourself for making the decision to start today. Be conscious that this future self exists and one day will look back.

It applies on so many levels – health, money, relationships. It totally translates to business too, thinking about what you are doing today that your future business will be pleased about. Should you invest in software, do you need to create new products, provide excellent training for your staff? If you do the hard work now, it will make your life easier in the future.

It’s about being aware of what’s really important, the thread that links the present and future, imagining how you’ll feel looking back. Thinking about your future self helps to find the right perspective in the choices you make today.

It’s not about denying yourself everything or not having fun. Almost on the contrary. In the case of our NYE I decided that creating a magical memory was more important than saving the money, so we went for it. But I also exercise, eat healthy and save for my retirement, as I want to continue to be able to live like I do now, and I know that my future self will thank me for it.

So what can you do today that your future self will thank you for?

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