Don't Neglect Your Future You

There is one person whose wants and needs you routinely ignore, opting instead to tend to your own immediate desires, and that person is future you. When it comes to making decisions that will have some effect on your long-term health or happiness — for example, whether or not to go to the gym today, in keeping with your New Year’s resolution — current you is always finding a new way to steal from future you. It’s time the two yous got better acquainted.

This concept in itself may not come as a great surprise, but the reason why this happens is the subject of some new and pretty fascinating research in social psychology, which suggests that most people think of their future selves as an entirely separate person from their present selves. We perceive our future selves — and “future” here can mean decades or weeks from now — to essentially be strangers, and, as the recently published book The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control notes, this affects our behavior and decision-making. It’s one of the reasons some of us struggle to save money or eat healthily or do anything else that is kind of a pain in the here and now, says Hal Hershfield, a psychologist at UCLA who has done a number of studies in this area. (Hershfield likes to point out that The Simpsons neatly illustrates his work, in a scene that has Homer saying, “That’s a problem for future Homer. Man, I don’t envy that guy,” and proceeding to pour vodka into a jar of mayonnaise and knock it back like a shot.)


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 It’s Time to Get Acquainted With Your Future Self
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Dahl, Melissa (January 14, 2015), It’s Time to Get Acquainted With Your Future Self, Retrieved on 2017-01-05
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: retirement planning