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Bad Habits? My Future Self Will Deal With That

Psychology, habits, self-control

I’VE been wanting to change some of my longstanding habits that I’m not so fond of. But I think I’ve discovered why this can be so difficult.

It’s how we think of our future selves.

Now, I know this sounds kind of weird, but I’ve found some research showing that many of us don’t have the incentive to eat healthy or save money or add to our retirement accounts because we think of ourselves in the future as someone different altogether. In fact, a future self can seem to be this annoying other person who wants to prevent you from having fun in the present.

The problem, said Kelly McGonigal, author of the “The Willpower Instinct” (Avery, 2011) and a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University, is that there is a disconnect between how we think of ourselves now and how we think of ourselves in the future.

“It’s not that you have to believe you’ll have all the same likes and dislikes you have now, but you have to believe you have the same sense of self,” Dr. McGonigal said. “The future you is just as you as you are right now.”

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