What would Future Me thank me for?

Mar 20, 2024

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

You might be familiar with this Chinese proverb. This expression has helped me in many ways over the years.

It’s easy to get into a bit of a slump, especially if you’re feeling a bit out of condition, low in energy or maybe lacking motivation to do something in particular. You might have told yourself, “Ah – this would have been much easier if I’d done this ages ago. It’s much too difficult and complicated to do it now.” Then you keep putting it off and putting it off, and eventually it becomes a great big thing that you just can’t face.

Does this sound familiar to you? If so, you are not alone. Here is one little thing that might help you and which has transformed my approach to what I do and how I do it. I think of my future self and ask myself, “What can I do today that Future Me will thank me for?”

When I think of Future Me, I think of the best version of myself, however many years in the future, who has achieved what Present Me sets out to achieve, who is a little further on my soul’s journey than I am now and who has learned by experience along the way.

Planting literal trees is the perfect expression of faith in the future. I keep the faith in my future by thinking of my future self. Planting figurative trees is a guaranteed way to make your future self smile. This could be something small, like doing star jumps while you wait for the kettle to boil so that Future You is that little bit more energetic. It could be clearing away the dishes before you go to bed so Future You can come down in the morning to a tidy kitchen. It could be something big, like sitting down and sending that email that you’ve been putting off sending or making that appointment that you’ve been afraid of doing.

Whatever type of tree you choose to plant, may it be one that bears fruit for you and those around you for many years to come.