Habits are the pixels that connect to build your future. The strength and quality of these pixels determine how enjoyable that image is going to be. The life you have today is the result of tiny actions and habits of the past. The actions of today might seem menial in the grand scheme of things you’d love to have in the future. But you’ll get nothing but the accumulated rewards for your habits in the present.
Our days, no matter how routined and boring they may seem, are the building blocks for the life we dream of. Our actions are the steps that we must take to move up the ladder of life and elevate ourselves to the next level.
I wanted to play the future game right. So I laid back and thought about my present and the past. I investigated them for the keys to the future. I put together this simple list. These are some guaranteed habits that your future self will thank you for.
1. Time in solitude
The world is moving at a crazy pace and our lives feel like they’re flashing by. Days turn into weeks and then months go by. Summers and winters are passing our jaws drop when we realize how fast time is passing.
A year passed feels like nothing more than a week. The ironic thing is, we act as if the year ahead is going to be an eternity. That’s one of the reasons why we waste a humongous amount of time without care.
Our devices and technologies enable us to move faster. But the need for slowing down has never been greater.
The need to spend time with yourself. The need to analyze your past moves and contemplate your plans. The need to pause, enjoy the moment, and be grateful for your blessings. The need to peel off the layers and get to know yourself on the deepest levels. These are the keys to living a more fulfilled life.
If you want to take control of your life, stop acting like a canoe floating in a storm. Start spending more time alone. You’ll be grateful for it in the years and decades to come.
2. Monitored fuel & maintenance
We squander our blessings by assuming they’ll always be in our grasp. The fresh air. The changing seasons. The endless blue carpet above our heads. The colors of life. The complex yet smooth functioning of our bodies.
We take our health for granted. We swallow whatever entices our eyes without taking the moments to exercise. Younger bodies are far more forgiving. The destructive health habits eventually catch up to you.
An analogy I love is to think of your body as a supreme sports car. How would you treat your dream car that you know for sure is irreplaceable? You’d keep it clean and avoid bumping into ditches. You won’t push it pointlessly and only feed it the best gasoline possible. You’ll also be regularly taking it for maintenance to ensure it stays in its peak form.
Our bodies are far more precious than any car. We can switch vehicles but we’re stuck in our bodies for life. Hence, we should be treating them with far more respect and care.
Eat the foods that’ll help improve your ability to think and function and are easy to digest. Exercise regularly to keep your engine (heart) pumping in peak conditions. This is what your future self will thank you for. This is how you ensure you have a future.
3. Sleep patterns
You can’t maintain your health without religiously sticking to sleeping patterns. If you’d like to have a future you can cherish, stop treating your sleeping patterns like a maze. Sleep and wake up at the same time even on the weekends. Allow your brain to understand the routine so your body can adjust to it accordingly.
Proper sleep ensures your brain functions at its peak. It enables smooth body movement throughout the day. It’s the gateway to a mood that radiates nothing but positive vibes.
All these things add up to dramatically level up the quality of your life. They also reduce the risks of developing health conditions that can scar you for life.
4. Deep work
We are being pulled into a million different directions. There are hundreds of pointless things throughout the day begging for our attention. The little monsters in our pockets are keeping us plunged into meaningless thoughts. Our attention spans have been reduced to the size of the pepper. Our focus constantly dwindles. We don’t realize this until we need to perform outside of our comfort zone.
If you want to build something meaningful, you have to throw out the shallow work. It is time instead to become besties with deep work. Deep work is the long uninterrupted sessions of time where you focus on learning or executing a task.
That’s how you produce quality. That’s the way to boost chances to succeed beyond the limits you’ve imposed on yourself.
5. Time management
Time is an irreplaceable commodity. All the technology in this world can’t help you bring back the moments that have passed. You have the same amount of time as everyone else on the planet. Same as billionaires. Same as homeless. Same as every living being.
In the end, the duration of your stay on this blip of light we call home becomes irrelevant. What matters is what you make of it, what you produce in the session you were allocated.
Hence, treat your time like the most precious thing in the world. Tread your hours and minutes wisely. Cut away the weeds of distractions and beggars of attention. You can be sure that your future self will thank you for living more purposefully and making the most of your time.
6. Preserved memories
The basic things of today can turn out to be the turning point of your life. The simplest actions of your present might become the memories you cherish the most.
The earliest days of your crazy love. The joy of landing your dream job. The excitement of becoming a parent for the first time. The laughs you shared with your family before everyone went their way. The moments you spent with people who are no more.
The most precious materialistic things turn to dust in comparison to the experiences you’ve saved through the eye of the camera. You can live those moments countless times. You can pass the stories down to your generations. You can show instead of tell.
If you’re not a teen anymore, chances are you already regret having missed some crucial moments in your life. You already have stories you’d rather show and not tell.
Don’t worry if you’ve missed it. Start today and push to minimize the regret in the future. Savor the moments you have.
7. Read books
The digital age has pulled a curtain across bookshelves. Our eyes are glued to the endless newsfeeds, and brain-numbing apps. We’ve lost the art of learning from the books and taking advice from people who’ve lived the life we dream of.
Imagine if you had Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, or some other ultra-successful person only one call away. They are ready to joyfully answer your questions. Would you still not make the call?
Now imagine the smartest minds of our history waiting to counsel you. The warriors of the past. The kings who ruled kingdoms larger than dozens of countries combined. The philosophers who discovered the meaning of life and made the most of it. The rebels rose against the worst odds possible and more.
They are all waiting for you to listen. They’re all waiting for you to sit your butt down, put your phone away and read. Read and you’ll learn. Read and you’ll grow. Read and you’ll expand the mental horizon of possibilities. Read and your future self will one day bow down to you.
8. Investments & careful expenses
Why do you push yourself to the edge? Why do you work all the time? Why can’t you shut your brain off? Do you do it to put food on your table, a roof over your head, and meet the basic needs of life?
Or do you do it to buy the things you don’t need and to impress the people you don’t care about? If you’re falling into the second category, you need to take one hard look at your choices. If you keep going the careless spending route and wasting the money you’re making, you’ll never be free. You’ll never have enough to take a month off let alone retire early.
Promise yourself to cut down your expenses and invest 30+% of your recurring income. The options for investments are endless. Ideally, you should go with something you understand to the depths. Put your money into it and let it grow and work for you. Let it help you get off the hamster wheel in the future to come.
9. Shredding expectations & shackles
We’re deeply rooted to demote or promote ideologies. We’re controlled by the invisible claws that are further inside our brains than we care to think. Our past experiences and the way we were raised. The expectations of people we love, and the shackles of society. The traumas we faced over time, and our never-ending internal dialogues. These are a few of the things heavily impacting the direction of our lives.
To live a life controlled by the emotions and scars you can’t see is like driving blind on the most dangerous road in the world in an untested self-driving car you built yourself. It only ends in destruction and sad outcomes.
You need to shred away the expectations. You must break free of the invisible shackles that have been put around you. You need to bust your bubble of comfort. Start building the life YOU want. Start analyzing your decisions by spending time in solitude. Learn to move through life consciously. Start making an effort to reduce autopilot. Hope into the driving seat and steer your life the way it excites you.
10. Patience & consistency
We’re living in a world that’s moving at an alarming rate. Where speed wins in everything. We’ve set the wrong core values wrong. You can’t build anything valuable without patience, failing, and trying again. You can’t succeed without showing up consistently.
You can either try to buy your yacht in 100 days or you can follow what has worked for centuries. Start working on something that adds value and invest time to produce it to the best of your abilities.
Try to consistently improve your processes and the product formula. Try to continuously work on slow growth instead of overnight success. You’ll be much further ahead of everyone else chasing the golden frog.
11. A life lived in the moment
Imagine being on your deathbed and your life flashing before your eyes. You’re contemplating your choices and slowly realizing that you never really lived. You were always hung on visualizing the future or running in loops analyzing your past. You never paused to enjoy life as it was. You never took a moment to cherish the most precious gift you were given.
This can be one of the worst regrets you can end up with. Hence, constantly make the effort to squeeze the most out of moments you’re given. Enjoy them while you’re still capable of molding your life to whatever you want.
12. Upheld values
When you don’t stand for something, it is easy to get swayed away by the river of emotions. When you haven’t set your boundaries, you are more likely to crumble under the pressure and give in.
When you’ve shaped your core values, you’ll know how to proceed in life. You’ll know what you can let slide. You’ll know what’s unacceptable. When the time comes, you’ll know where you stand without running through a maze of thoughts.
These things will be hard. Sticking to mere words you put somewhere on a paper will be tricky. But when you do, you raise the bar of your self-respect. You also ensure that you’ll be a lively and proud person looking back at your choices.
13. Monitored thoughts
The world is what it is. Your world is whatever your thoughts shape it to be. You can walk this planet with your head held high and spread positive vibes everywhere you go. You can take each step like you own the ground.
Or you can walk with your body hunched over. Your eyes are on the ground. You’re drowning inside your head by a never-ending flood of self-loathing thoughts. You can believe in possibilities or put a glass ceiling over your potential and you’ll have it.
Our thoughts are powerful and they can determine how far we’re gonna go. Watch them all the time. Monitor how you’re talking to yourself. Try to evaluate why you’re feeling a particular way. Try to see the positive in each situation. Try to keep an open and optimistic mind. You’ll be thankful for that down the road.
Almost all the points I’ve shared above, all narrow down to being self-aware. That’s where the magic is. When you understand yourself on a deeper level, you’ll have no desire for distractions. You’ll be able to eradicate foolish actions and replace them with constructive ones. You’ll also get over regrets easier and cherish your present moments.
In the end, these words are merely what I’ve accumulated due to my own experiences. They’re opinions and yet they have been proven true over past centuries. Your life circumstances might be unique. Your situation might be drastically different to apply some of these points and that’s alright.
Remember my point about sticking with your values and not anyone else’s? Remember my point of shredding the expectations and shackles? Simply build the life you truly want for yourself and you’ll end up in a happier place.