- Are you largely clear about what you want to achieve, but unsure about next steps?
- Do you ever get to the end of another month feeling like you haven’t made much progress?
Being clear on what we want is the first step to achieving it. Having a clear ‘desired future’ in mind is critical to our success.
In theory having a clear desired future dictates our decision-making so we constantly move towards our goal. In practice, however knowing exactly which steps to take next can be bewildering. In addition to the confusion over what to do next, it can feel uncomfortable to do things differently, so — unless we’re vigilant — it’s easy to slip back into our habitual ways of being.
So, how do we keep moving towards our desired future so that we feel pleased with our progress and motivated to continue? One answer is to keep our desired future alive in our present. If we have a mechanism for repeatedly reminding ourselves of where we’re heading, we can take steps to ensure we stay on the right path. It sounds simple (… well, it is) but how many of us actually take the time to check in with our ‘future selves’ every day to make sure we’re on track?
Many of my clients find it useful to have a ‘decision prism’ — by viewing their every day decisions (literally, every decision they make) through the prism of their desired future, things become very simple.
For example, a client of mine had a specific future vision of herself with children. She was having difficulty conceiving, so her specialist suggested she eliminate some of the stress from her life. Using her ‘decision prism’ it became obvious she should change jobs. This was a difficult decision because her work had many positive aspects, but when she was clear about her desired ultimate outcome (to have children) the decision in the moment became simple.
This can equally be applied to something mundane, like, “Should I watch this movie with my partner, should I go to the gym, or should I work on my OU assignment?” The answer will be specific to you and your desired future.
Imagine a shining prism floating in front of you. This prism contains all the information about your desired future (what you’ll be doing, who you’ll be with, how you’ll feel, etc.). Look at a decision through this prism and notice what you see. How does the future version of you view this decision? Ask ‘future you’ what to do. ‘Future you’ knows what to do in this moment to move you closer to your desired future.
Practise using the decision prism as often as possible. Start with something small (like what to have for breakfast or what colour socks to wear) and work up to more challenging decisions.
Remember: even though we don’t know ALL the steps we must take (to get from where we are now to where we want to be), pulling our future into our present helps us take the NEXT step with courage, clarity and confidence.