Last night was a night that ended up being filled with things I think I’ll thank myself for later. I didn’t plan it that way, but that’s what happened.
First, I went to the gym. I could have gone straight home from work. I could have made excuses (I was pretty tired) or not taken time to pack a change of clothes that morning. But I didn’t. I showed up. I did my thing. By the time I finished I was glad I came; I think my future self will be thankful too.
Once home I made myself dinner. It wasn’t anything fancy but it was yummy, semi-healthy, and did the trick. Thinking ahead to the rest of my week I realized that I’ll be away from home for 13 hours today and about 12 on Thursday. Before sitting down to enjoy last night’s dinner, I took an extra 5 minutes to threw a pork tenderloin and some veggies in the oven to roast while I ate. Between that and leftovers from tonight’s dinner, I now have meals for the next 2 and a half days ready to pull out when needed. My mornings will be easier when it comes to packing a lunch and I will enjoy the homemade meal way more than grabbing something on the go when there’s no opportunity to go home for dinner.
I’m also kept a commitment I made to myself this morning to do some cleaning this evening as well as some writing. I will thank myself when I’m not racing the clock for upcoming deadlines or when I come home tonight after a long day to a clean home and empty sink.
I went to bed at a reasonable time. I’m still trying to adjust to the time change. My body isn’t sure what to do with it. I could have easily stayed up late to do whatever random things I end up doing way to late at night. Instead, I tucked myself in and found myself thankful and unstressed this morning when I had to get up and out the door early to enjoy breakfast with a friend before work.
I don’t share all that in pride. I am far from awesome when it comes to many of these things that I happened to actually do well last night. (I may or may not have also hadsome chocolate and peanut butter ice cream. So there’s that.) Believe me: this kind of stuff isn’t an every day occurrence in the Freed home. But last night it was. And it felt good to not just care for me “now” but for me “then”.
It made me stop and consider two things:
1. Healthy choices lead to other healthy choices. Going to the gym after work made me crave a healthier dinner. Once I got going, it was easier to find motivation for other good things in my life. By exercising and eating well I slept better too. By having a clean house I am more likely to put in the little effort it takes to keep it clean the rest of the week and be less stressed out every time I walk in the door.
2. I may not be able to do all of this every day or even every week, but what things can I do that will benefit me in the future? Whether “future” is simply the next morning or years from now, I can do things now that will help me then.
I’m all for living in the present, when we get too far ahead of ourselves it just creates anxiety and gets overwhelming. At the same time though, when as I look around at our world, I see how easy it is to “live for now” and completely ignore the fact that these bodies, homes, cars, relationships, etc. will be around for a while. When I live focused only on now and for temporary satisfaction it rarely turns out well. I matter. And because I matter I want to remember what it looks like to care for myself in ways that will help the future me too. It’s easy to lose focus on this, but we can regain the momentum pretty easily as well. It starts with this simple question:
What is one little thing I can do today that my future self will thank me for?
Now go do it!