Don’t Live In Your Future

I once dated a girl who claimed almost daily that she was “going to start a diet tomorrow.” When faced with her choice of what to eat the following day, she would once again say she was “going to start a diet tomorrow.” The day after that, if we decided to go out for pizza and ice cream, she would then proclaim that she was “seriously going to start a diet tomorrow.”

She continued this pattern for the duration of our relationship lasting several months, and never actually started a diet.

It’s easy to imagine a better version of yourself that exists sometime in your future. The future version of yourself is essentially perfect by comparison — in the future you’re happy, exercising daily, eating right, beautiful, done school, successful, working a job you love, rich, famous, in love, whatever.

When you imagine an enhancement to your life and place it firmly in your future, it will remain a figment of your imagination unless you begin taking steps towards achieving it. So if you truly want to create a better life for yourself, you must earn it every day, starting today.

I repeatedly emphasize the importance of “living in the present” because although the concept of living every day to its fullest appears obvious, it is quite difficult in practice. It goes without saying that it’s considerably easier to do entertaining and enjoyable things in lieu of unappealing and difficult things — but the easy things will often be unproductive and wasteful in the grand scheme of your life’s goals.

One of the most helpful things that was ever suggested to me was the notion that there are no such things as “the past” or “the future” — there is only this very moment you’re experiencing right now. This new perception of life had profound effects on my motivation and resulted in the development of an astonishing ability to put wheels in motion and simply get things done.

“But the future exists,” I hear you argue. The future is where all your hard times are behind you — and all the good times lie ahead because you’re already happy and successful. The future is when you’ll be out on the town whenever you please, surrounded by friends and fine wines — and you don’t have a single financial concern ruining your fun, right?

If that sounds like a future you truly desire then it’s not out of the realms of possibilities — but this here and now is where you are actually at. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for all your life. This is the moment you must appreciate without all those other things you’re hoping for.

Don’t let me give the impression that dreaming is a bad thing. Dreams are really great — but don’t forget how it is you right now doing the dreaming. Once you learn to appreciate this, you will be able to enjoy every moment of your life. You’ll enjoy simply being alive and having the capacity to do all that dreaming.

Living in the present means acting like today matters. When you focus on achieving your goals today rather than pushing them off until tomorrow, the boundaries separating you and your hopeful future begin to dissolve.

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6 Responses to “Don’t Live In Your Future”

#1 hello on 25, May, 2007 at 11:52 pm

It’s good for me…
Thank you for this good article

#2 Shaun Boyd on 26, May, 2007 at 9:25 am

You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting.

#3 CLAY on 09, Oct, 2007 at 9:20 am

hello shaun,

I stumbled upon your site, and i stuck around for hours reading.
You have some interesting articles that made me and i m sure
a lot of other ppl think and rethink their lives.

“Don’t live in the future” is something i again totally agree with
many ppl tend to dwell in past and future and forget living in the present.

Thank you for your “opening ppl’s eyes and make them think” articles.



#4 ryan on 06, Oct, 2008 at 10:41 am


#5 bhavana on 18, Feb, 2010 at 3:32 pm

Wow Shaun,

This is EXACTLY what i needed to read. Thank you sooo much!
You have no idea, what a big impact this is going to have on my life.

#6 printguru on 29, Dec, 2010 at 5:09 pm

This is incredible information. I had a argument with my father today that started when he asked for me to go to a “family dinner” over his fiances house (this will be his third marriage, if he decides to actually get married) My brothers new kid and his wife would be joining them as well. My mom got married for a second time an I’m currently living at my grandmas with my dad? He asked me if i was going to attend, i replied with a simple no answer that was automatically in my mind some kind of defense mechanism. My father left when I was 8 and came back around in my life when i was in my late teens claiming my mom never let him see me and so on (it was always your moms fault). He helped me create a t-shirt printing and embroidery shop that has been running strong for 5 years. We are now located in a 3,000 square ft building with two screen printing presses and one awesome embroidery machine. He saw that i loved art when i was young and started a clothing company in high school using iron on transfers.. What a better way to impress your son by giving his a huge opportunity to succeed by starting a business. I could go on about how I work and run the whole shop in order from day to day.. how my cousin who was my partner in the company quit. My friend joined in now and is helping us sell, and I’m still getting all of the work done. My pops has a business to run during the day a a computer company. I feel lost and angry sometimes.. and in order to succeed i need to put things in the past and not have so many trust issues. Any advice?

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