The Future Self concept is simple yet rarely practiced. To make quality decisions, know where those decisions will take you. Decisions and actions are best when reverse-engineered from a desired outcome. Start with what you want and work backward. Think and act from your goal, rather than toward your goal. Your brain does this automatically.

Indeed, neuroscientists now agree the brain is essentially a "prediction machine," guiding behavior toward the expected future. Learning is the process of updating and improving our brain's predictions.

The clearer you are on where you want to go, the less distracted you'll be by endless options. When you're disconnected from your Future Self, you get caught up in urgent goals that often result in low-quality behavior in the present. For the majority, this is the norm.

Because we're disconnected from our Future Selves, we opt for near immediate goals or dopamine hits. This short-term seeking ends up costing our Future Selves big. As Harvard psychologist and Future Self researcher Daniel Gilbert asked, "Why do we make decisions our Future Selves will regret?"

This brings up a counterintuitive but important truth--the more connected you are to your Future Self, the better you live in the present.

Author and philosopher Stephen R. Covey said, "Mental creation always precedes physical creation."

Anyone who has created something substantial did so by seeing it in their mind first, and then working toward the image. As they took steps forward, their vision clarified, expanded, and evolved. 

Even the Bible says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 

Whoever you're being, right now is the evidence of your Future Self. Your level of faith in and commitment toward your Future Self is evidenced by everything you do, and every thought you think.

Once you are clear and committed, everything will filter through your goal--what psychologists call selective attention.

You see what you're looking for.

You see what you care about.

What you focus on expands. 

The father of American psychology, William James, put it this way: 

Millions of items of the outward order are present to my senses which never properly enter into my experience. Why? Because they have no interest for me. My experience is what I agree to attend to.

Not only do you see what you're looking for, but you also act toward what you most want and have decided will be yours. 

Faith is a principle of action and power. 

By faith, you can move mountains, put a man on the moon, make millions, and heal impossible maladies. To exercise this level of faith, fashion a vision of what you want. In the words of American author Florence Shinn, "Know you've already received and act according."

• Know that whatever you want is already yours. 
• Act as though everything you want can and will be yours.

The truth is, we all are already doing this right now. The challenge is to hone the future we envision for ourselves. We're being driven by our views of the future. 

Why that particular future, the one you're currently committed to?

What if you chose something else?

What if you committed to what you truly want?

When you commit 100 percent to what you want and know the end result is already yours, there will be a growing body of evidence about the future you're creating. You'll stop associating pain with the work and changes required for your goals. Instead, you'll associate pain with not making progress toward your dreams. 

You'll associate pain with the short-term dopamine hits that were once your escape. 

You'll be far more courageous.

You'll develop mentorships and collaborations with like-minded people. 

Your mindset, beliefs, and mental models will change and you'll see the world far differently from your former self. 

Your results will improve. As leadership experts Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, and Kaley Klemp state:

Commitment is a statement of what "is." You can know what you're committed to by your results, not by what you say your commitments are. We are all committed. We are all producing results. The result is proof of a commitment.

Your behavior will change because your identity has changed. 

Your identity is what you're most committed to. 

Your identity is based on the vision you have for yourself. When you change your committed vision, your identity immediately changes, which in turn, immediately changes the flow of your thoughts and behaviors. 

Yes, it will require courage to fully embrace your Future Self. Yes, it will sometimes take more time than you anticipated.

Yes, there will be obstacles. 

But if you're committed, everything you face along the way will only better prepare you for what you truly want. Everything that comes at you will strengthen your resolve. 

You'll be able to turn any experience to your gain, moving you further and evolving you beyond what you could initially imagine. When you're 100 percent committed and have faith, you will find the way. There is always a way. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "When you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."

Excerpt reprinted with permission from Be Your Future Self Now by Dr. Benjamin Hardy (Hay House; June 14, 2022).