Pensive

I think I am a nice person but there is someone I treat rather beastly. Sometimes my actions towards him borders on abuse. I act in all sorts of selfish ways that hurt him. I steal from him too. Many of my exploitations cause him physical and mental anguish. I know what I am doing (or not doing) is inimical but I don’t care. Who is this poor unfortunate soul? It is my future Self. My present Self eats badly, neglects sleep and exercise, and spends money in ways someday I will look back and feel bad why I was so negligent and nasty.
We’re all wired to think and act in the now not in the future and to choose otherwise is a bitch. Our inner-monkey eats the food now rather than abstain or save it for who knows if there will be a tomorrow. Getting people ‘motivated’ to delay gratification or abjure for later payoffs is nearly impossible.
Here is what I’ve learned to do. I try to remember my future-Self at my mercy hoping I will do right. Sometimes this succeeds and I can be charitable towards him. Whenever I tempted to snarf down a big bag of nasty chips I stop and think towards my future-self. I see him two months hence at Palm Springs taking off his shirt and feeling bad about his looks and wishing my January- self had done him a solid. Another example: I find it tiresome to take out the rubbish Tuesday night after I get home from work. I want to go straight in and right to bed – I can do it in the morning. However I really hate waking early on Wednesday mornings to get the bins to the curb in time for collection. So I haul out the garbage Tuesday night while thinking of my Wednesday self. My Wednesday-self drives off that morning saying a silent thank you through time and space toward my Tuesday -self for doing this favor for me.
If I am to have many and well future-selves they require health and finances and time. When I remember them this way and act accordingly in the here and now they may be well.

It works for me.