New year, New you?
NEW YEAR, NOT YOU.
Every gym in town right now is probably running promotions and programs called “new year, new you!” And convincing you that this year will be different!
I’m here to tell you that this year, you’re still going to be the same you and when you think about yourself in the future, that’s not YOU at all.
At least the way your brain thinks about your future self, isn’t you at all.
In fact, when hooked up to an fMRI machine (Functional Magnetic resonance imaging, a machine that measures neuron activity in different areas of the brain) and asked to think of ourselves, we use an area of the brain called the Medial Prefrontal Cortex(MPFC), an area of the brain associated with the “self”.
When asked to think of somebody else, that area of the brain is not activated.
But one amazing thing that researchers found is that when we are asked to think of ourselves in the FUTURE (what we’ll do tomorrow, next week, next month) the MPFC doesn’t get activated as if it would if we’re thinking about ourselves.
What they determined was that when we think of our “Future self”, we’re actually thinking of someone that isn’t us.
In other words, your brain acts as if your future self is someone you don’t know very well and, frankly, someone you don’t care about.
So why is this important?
One study was done where researchers asked participants to predict how many times over the next month they would exercise and asked them to commit to a number.
At the end of that month, almost NONE of the participants hit their goal number… They didn’t even come close.
The researchers instructed them again to think, “Knowing that you didn’t exercise as much as you said… In the NEXT month, how many times do you think you will workout?”
The participants, KNOWING that they failed the last month and had the same old excuses and obstacles then predicted numbers even HIGHER than the last time!
Needless to say, none of those people hit their even higher and less realistic number of workouts.
With the New Year coming this week, exercise is usually at the top of the “resolutions” list with most people.
So, when you think of all the changes that you’re going to make in the next few weeks, months, etc… you’re basically writing a fiction novel. That’s the area of the brain that’s being used.
When we think of all the changes we’re going to make, we picture this version of ourselves that has (and probably never will exist).
We picture an energized and motivated version of ourselves that gets 8 hours of sleepevery night, shoots out of bed the second our alarm goes off and doesn’t cheat on their diet…
Even though the “real” you has never been that person, your toddler crawls into your bed each night and kicks you in their sleep, your co-workers bring jelly donuts to work everyday and they’re your favorite and you have a hard time saying “no” to extra projects, happy hours and events and give yourself to everyone and leave nothing for yourself.
But next week, none of that will exist and you’ll be in the perfect position to get in amazing shape and change your life.
You’re not realizing that you still have all the same obstacles in your life, you still hate working out, you still hate waking up early, and you still have too busy of a schedule to fit your workout in.
Planning for your future self is fiction.
Planning for your future self is fiction UNLESS you take action right now.
Before you make any crazy commitments to exercise routines and big changes to your life, you should take an inventory of your life right now.
What obstacles have held you back, and how can you overcome them. Create a plan.
Where can you create space in your life for the time to exercise? Open up room.
What can you do right now in order to make your future self a reality?
Fear will hold us back from making a lot of changes in our lives, and in order to kill fear we need to starve it of its favorite food… Time.
Take action right now. Create space in your life, plan around obstacles that you know already exist and commit right now to who you will become. The longer you wait, the more your fear will grow and thrive.
Be who you want to be in the future right now.