The problem that we face is that we don’t understand the fact that there are two people that have to agree to any change that you want to make; The Current Self and the Future Self. They battle each other and it’s not a fair fight! Let me show you what I mean by a simple example. The Future Self wants to be healthy, feel good, look great and be active. The Future Self wants a body that is in good shape. The Future Self wants these great things. But the problem is that the Future Self is not here to combat the Current Self. They have no power over the Current Self. As a matter of fact, the Current Self has all the power! And the Current Self gets all the rewards. The Future Self offers no rewards to the Current Self.
So, what happens when we eat great tasting food? The Current Self feels great. What happens when we sit on the couch all day and skip working out? The Current Self loves it! What happens when we sacrifice time and energy or deny ourselves of comfort food? The Current Self suffers; it does not get what it wants. There is no reward for the Current Self to make these sacrifices. And your Future Self is at the mercy of your Current Self!
Now the goal is to make changes in our lives. And we know that our past always predicts our future and to change the future, we have to change our past. And the only way to change our past, is to conquer today enough times so that it becomes our past. (Read my post “How do we change our future” http://goo.gl/nA55is) – the experts say about 14 days of sustained change, reprograms our past and can redirect our future.
Use a Commitment Device
Odysseus in “The Odyssey”, is on a journey and one of the obstacles is the Sirens and their seductive song. There are many accounts of sailors sailing through these waters only to be mesmerized by the seductive songs of the Sirens and die in a shipwreck. However, Odysseus really wants to hear this fantastic song. So, he develops a plan. He has his entire crew melt wax and put it in their ears so that they are not affected by the seductive songs of the Sirens. They have him tie him to the mast. This way, when they sail past the Sirens, he can hear the songs, but his crew is strong and steady and lead the ship to safety. This is the first documented case of a commitment device.
Basically, a commitment device is a system that you set up that holds you to a course of action. For example, let’s say that you want to lose weight and get healthy. You might create a website for yourself and make it as public as possible, inviting all your friends and make as much of the data public as well. This way, you have some commitment to staying on course. Or if credit is your issues, I have heard of someone putting their charge cards in the freezer in a block of ice – to get them past that spontaneous spending impulse that they experience. Also consider an accountability group – giving someone else authority in your life to hold you accountable. You know at some point, you will have to give an account of your decisions and this creates another layer that the Current Self has to think through and reckon with.
The idea is to combat the Current Self – to give some power to the Future Self, by instilling some reward and punishments to the Current Self.
For sure here are some helpful things to consider when battling our Current Self.
1. We need to make a plan ahead of time. When I go to restaurants and do my research prior to getting there, my food choices are healthy. If I fail to do this, I make some terrible choices. The first thing I do when I get to hotels is to lock out adult channels – who wants that crap available?
2. You need to be willing to change. How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is “One, but it has to want to change.” There are people around you who can help you, but you have to first want to change.
3. You need to fight for every inch of gain! Know this ahead of time. It is hard. Changes require resolve and courage.
4. Fall down 7 times, get up 8. You will fail along the way. Plan what to do before you fail. Pick yourself up and get back on track. Don’t linger over the failure – you just learned another way that you could possibly plan for.
5. Surround yourself with good spiritual advisers, friends who will be honest. Proverbs 27:6 says “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Find those friends who are willing to tell you the honest truth – of course, it is helpful if they do so in love.
6. Seek God and ask Him for these things above. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Trust in His leading.