Posts in Life
To Achieve what You Want, Try Checking in with Your Future Self

In the moment, change can seem impossible, because change takes time. You may have a strong desire to lose weight, start a new career, move to a new place, or start a movement around new ideas, but the enormity of the outcome you seek gets lost in the everyday craziness of your life. There’s such a large gap between who you are and who you want to become that it seems foolish to even try. 

Most people, who are desirous of a future result, want to get there as fast as possible. They set an ambitious goal and try to accomplish it quickly, which typically leads to failure, burnout, and frustration. 

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The Most Important Contributor to Happiness, According to Science

In the summer of 2017, I spent months in a state of inaction, wrestling with myself about a problem I was facing. I had an idea for a book I wanted to write, but I was worried that a publisher wouldn’t be interested in it. I wrote and rewrote book proposals, researched literary agents, and weighed pros and cons. 

I was worried that the book wouldn’t be good enough. I feared being rejected by the traditional publishing industry.

Around Labor Day, I had an epiphany and came to a resolution: Just write the damn book. After all, how was I to know whether the book was good enough until there was an actual book in existence to judge?  

Six months later, the book was published. But I didn’t go the traditional publishing route. Shortly after I started to write the book, I decided to self publish. With action, the right decision became clear. I wasn’t going to put my dream into someone else’s hands. I didn’t want to relinquish creative control to a gatekeeper. I decided to succeed or fail on my own terms. 

By assuming control, the weight of the anxiety I was feeling lifted. The inertia of inaction eased and was replaced by the joy of autonomy.“We better jog it out,” I said to my wife Heather.

She glanced up at me, strapped on her pack, and without a word headed down the trail at a good clip as the rain began to intensify.

We were in the middle of a getaway weekend, and in the midst of hiking through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on our way to the City of Marquette in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. It was my idea to stop in Pictured Rocks, one of my favorite places to hike, since it’s on the way (more or less) as you drive west through the peninsula from the Mackinac Bridge. 

Heather was up for hiking, as she always is, but there were a few details that I probably should have thought through a bit better. 

For one, we only had about two hours to spare and seven miles to hike over mildly rugged terrain, which wasn’t going to leave us much time to linger at the points of interest along the way, including majestic waterfalls and iron ore-stained cliff formations. 

Two, I forgot to take into account that there are not many easy dining options for long stretches in the Upper Peninsula, so we were forced to skip lunch in order to get the hike in. Heather is not a big fan of skipping lunch (ever see those Snickers commercials?).  

Finally, I didn’t look real closely at the weather—if I had I would have noticed that a storm was scheduled to roll in precisely at the time we were to reach the 3.5 mile turnaround point on our “out and back” hike. Hence, the need to “jog it out.”

When we reached our car—cold and soaked from head to toe—I tried to put a “look on the bright side of things” spin on the situation. Again, a glance but no response as Heather wiped mud off...well...pretty much everything.


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