5 Things You Can Do Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

“Six months from now, what will you wish you had spent time on today?” —James Clear

It’s easy to miss the potential of today because “today” happens so often.

But each day provides opportunity. As a result of our actions today, we will move forward, stay the same, or (unfortunately) slip further away from the person we want to be.

Every single day, we make choices. And even though both routine and chaos can blur that fact, it remains true whether we feel it or not. We make choices every day about how to spend our time, our money, our energy, and even what receives our attention.

And these choices, whether they are made deliberately or unintentionally, whether they are small or large, always shape the direction of our lives. Annie Dillard said it this way, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

Knowing that, we would be wise to make purposeful decisions every day that move us in the direction of the people we want to become. But what decisions are those exactly?

Before I answer that question, it’s important to realize that oftentimes in the rush-rush of our busy lives, we give our days little thought. And when we don’t give them thought and intention, we end up following the same motions and routines as yesterday, we prioritize what is urgent over what is important, and we get caught in a cycle of responding to the loudest calls and latest fads rather than the most meaningful ones.

In doing so, we give up our right to choose.

It’s easy to see why this happens. Our society often equates busyness with productivity and stillness with wasted time. Our world constantly pushes convenience and short-term benefits on us. And the pursuit of conformity has long been a temptation to the human race. As a result, our lives slip into following the masses.

However, by recognizing the power of our choices today, we can realign our actions with our values and passions and the life we aspire to lead. And when we choose well today, six months from now (or one year from now… or ten years from now), we can look back with gratitude at the decisions we made.

Nobody can predict the future—this is true. Life can change in the blink of an eye. But regardless of what the future holds, there are things we can do today that our future self will thank us for.

Regardless of what happens in your life tomorrow, I don’t believe you will ever regret doing these five things today:

1. Investing in Our Health

Our body and mind are the instruments through which we live our lives and make a difference in the world. So prioritizing our health is one of the most profound investments we can make in ourselves. Unfortunately, too many of us will not do that today.

Whether it’s exercising, eating healthy, or simply choosing to go to bed at the right time, each healthy choice contributes to a stronger you today and tomorrow.

In the future, ensure that you can look back today and be grateful for how you intentionally took care of yourself. No matter what the future holds, you will be glad you did.

2. Investing in Our Relationships

The quality of our lives is greatly influenced by the quality of our relationships. In fact, according to the world’s longest-running longitudinal study on happiness, the single greatest factor in human happiness is healthy relationships.

Today, you have the opportunity to deepen connections with loved ones, reach out to old friends, or start brand new relationships. It may require you to turn off the television, put down the video game, or even turn down a new business opportunity, but your decision will pay off dividends for years to come.

These moments of connection bring joy and hope into our lives, filling it with hope, support, and love. Nobody ever gets to their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office as the old saying goes. But lots of people wish they had spent more time with their family and loved ones. Make a decision today your future you will be thankful for.

3. Investing in Your Personal Growth

None of us have fully arrived and all of us have room to grow. This fact will never change. And by that I mean, we will never reach perfection. Some might hear this and think, “Then why grow at all?” But those who have intentionally invested in their personal growth see this differently.

The better versions of ourselves we become, the better we can show up in this world. The more we grow, the more we can help and influence others. Personal growth, when understood correctly, isn’t just about becoming better versions of ourselves, it’s about becoming the type of person who can enable others to become better versions of themselves.

Push your limits today. Tackle a new problem. Read a new book or find a new podcast. Become the best you that you can become today. And you’ll discover an even better version of you tomorrow.

4. Making Wise Financial Decisions

74% of working Americans say they are stressed about their personal finances these days. And 80% of Americans believe they would be happier if they had more money.

There is no doubt that some people in the world need more money, but it is not 75% of Americans.

However, 100% of us, regardless of where we live, would feel better about ourselves and our future if we became more intentional with how we handled our money. Wasted dollars are wasted potential. No doubt that is one of the reasons this blog continues to reach so many people.

Today, you have that option. You can refrain from an unnecessary purchase, you can move some money into savings, you can learn how to invest wisely, you can give away a little bit, or you can sit down with a pen and sheet of paper and get very clear on where your money is going.

No doubt, if you do, you’ll be glad you did.

5. Focusing on the Direction of Your Life

Slowing down long enough to reflect on the direction of your life and then making intentional choices about your path is one of the most significant and important actions we can ever take. But again, too few of us do that. Instead, we rush from one thing to another not even realizing life is slipping away underneath it.

Francis Chan summed it up this way, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

Taking time today to focus on the direction of your life might mean setting a new vision, changing goals, choosing new daily habits, or even changing course when you know something isn’t right. Either way, it will require time with your heart and soul and mind and thoughts.

Of course, staying true to your values and moving purposefully towards your vision will not only shape your future but also enrich your present. When you look back, you’ll be grateful for the time you invested charting your own direction.

The greatest mistake we can make today is making a decision that we regret in the future. But the second greatest mistake is to simply waste today.

Choose instead something that your future self will thank you for. Any (or all) from the list above should guarantee that.

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