Tomorrow Logic and Future Self Logic
Gretchen Rubin in Better Than Before describes how procrastination frequently stems from the perspective that “I’ll feel more like doing _________ tomorrow.” Kelly McGonigal in The Willpower Instinct describes the same thinking only she describes it as future self logic.
When we don’t want to do something, we often convince ourselves that we’ll feel more like doing __________ tomorrow than we do right now. That’s believing that our future self will somehow feel more like doing __________ later. Either way we are kidding ourselves. The reality is we rarely feel any different and do tomorrow what we didn’t do today, but this logic is so persuasive we believe it.
Since reading The Willpower Instinct I have begun asking myself how my future self would feel if I do it now. The first time I applied this strategy occurred when I was getting home late and needed to get something from the grocery store for dinner the following night. I imagined how relieved my future self would be if I stopped by right now rather than waiting because I had a busy day ahead of me and it would be even later tomorrow if I didn’t go to the store today.
Instead of telling myself I’d feel more like doing it tomorrow, I imagined how nice it will feel tomorrow when I’ve done it now. I find this simple reframing about doing it now vs. tomorrow is a powerful technique for being kind to my future self. I’m developing the habit of asking myself this question, “How will I feel tomorrow if I do it now rather than waiting?”
Rubin explains how scheduling an activity or task and doing it when scheduled helps prevent the tomorrow logic that leads to procrastination.
What can you do today that will be kind to your future self tomorrow?
Tomorrow I’ll review the advantages that Rubin has suggested are provided by scheduling and sticking to that schedule. (That’s not procrastinating – I’ve already kept my blogging commitment for today.)