Personality isn’t permanent. The person you are today is not the person you will be tomorrow. Use this to your advantage to create the future self you want to be.
In this episode, I share teachings from a few different psychologists on how to break free from personality labels and develop the skills and habits of the person you want to be. We’ll go through 4 steps to create your future self, so get your notebook ready.
Founder of Glow by Marlowe
Maria Marlowe is a Holistic Nutritionist and the Founder of Glow by Marlowe, an online destination for courses and content to clear acne and glow from within. She is the author of The Real Food Grocery Guide, dubbed "the most practical guide to healthy eating" by renowned physician Dr. Dean Ornish and host of the Happier & Healthier Podcast.
Maria Marlowe: [00:00:34] Welcome back to a brand new season of the Happier and Healthier podcast. I’m your host, Maria Marlowe. And today we’re talking about creating your future self. And I’m going to be sharing four key steps to help you do just that. Now, this concept of future self is something that I recently came across maybe a couple of months ago, and it’s a topic that really piqued my interest. And I feel like understanding this concept has changed and shifted a lot for me already in just this short time period. So it’s a topic I am excited to bring you guys.
Maria Marlowe: [00:01:15] To kind of set the stage for this future self-work, I want to share with you a little nugget of wisdom from Harvard psychologist Dr. Daniel Gilbert. So in his TED talk, The Psychology of Your Future Self, he explains that almost all of us have a bias. We tend to think that the person we are today is the person that we will always be. However, this is absolutely not true. And if you look back 10 years ago at the person you were then and you compare it to the person you are now, chances are there are a lot of differences.
Maria Marlowe: [00:02:02] You probably had different goals, different likes, and dislikes. You were maybe living a completely different life, had a different career or just different interests and, you know, maybe different clothing. Maybe you look back and be like, Oh my God, I can’t believe I ever wore that. There are so many things that we thought were really cool 10 years ago or we were really interested in 10 years ago. And now we desire the complete opposite.
Maria Marlowe: [00:02:29] So it’s easy for us to see that we’re not the same person when we look in the past. However, when we look in the future, it’s still difficult for us to realize that we’re not going to be the same person 10 years from now. We still tend to think whoever you are now is the person that you’re going to be. But clearly that is not true. And when we realize that we are not our future self and we realize that we have the power to create our future self, well, that opens up a whole field of opportunity for us to really become the person that we want to be.
Maria Marlowe: [00:03:10] I think a lot of people think that our personalities are permanent, but they’re not. In fact, there’s a great book by Dr. Benjamin Hardy, who is an organizational psychologist called Personality Isn’t Permanent. And he talks about exactly that, that things like personality tests are completely B.S. and that there’s really no such thing because we have the power to be whoever it is that we want to be. But if you take a personality test and it tells you you’re x y z type of person, you may play up those traits and downplay other traits because you think that’s who you are. But that’s very limiting.
Maria Marlowe: [00:03:54] And if you want to be something different, you can just develop the habits of that different type of personality. So really, you can become the person that you want to be and do the things that you want to do. You don’t have to feel limited that you can’t do something because of your personality. So I learned about this future self concept through Dr. Benjamin Hardy. I really enjoyed his work or enjoy his work. I found him from I was googling something and an article he wrote popped up, and then I went down this whole rabbit hole on his website and YouTube of all these different lessons on the personality part and then the future self stuff. So I highly, highly recommend checking him out. And basically, it’s his work that inspired this episode.
Maria Marlowe: [00:04:44] So before we get into the steps to create your future self, I just want to do a quick announcement. Speaking of future self, I am in the process of creating my own future self and my new future business as well. So some of you may have noticed if you go to my website or on my email newsletter, read my blog, even my social media, then you’ll know that I changed the name of my business from a Healthy by Marlowe to Glow by Marlowe a few months ago, back in September. And with that, the name of the podcast is also changing, and that change will take place in just a couple of weeks. So be on the lookout for new artwork and a new name under this glow umbrella. And not to worry, though, if you like this Happier and Healthier Podcast, the content is going to be very similar. Still going to have top health and wellness experts talking about a variety of subjects.
Maria Marlowe: [00:05:40] The real reason that I changed everything from Healthy by Marlowe to Glow by Marlowe is that I wanted to reflect the fact that our health is more than just food and exercise and the physical stuff, and really reflect my interest in more of the mental side of things, the resilience, the breathwork and meditation, and the importance of the more mental aspects of health and wellness. So we really get that healthy, that vibrant glow, that magnetic, vibrant health that I think that we’re all desiring and it comes from more just the physical stuff. It really comes from your inner peace, your inner happiness, your inner calmness. And that’s what I want to focus a lot of the episodes on as well beyond just again, the physical stuff. So be on the lookout for that, and with that, let’s jump into the four key steps to creating your future self.
Maria Marlowe: [00:06:41] The first step is super simple. Imagine who you want to be in three years and write it down. The writing it down part is key because that’s going to help you get there. Most people, I would say the vast majority of people don’t write their goals down. And so it becomes very hard to get somewhere if you have no idea where you’re going. I’ve always been someone who writes my goals down, and I think as a result of that, I’ve been able to check off a lot of my goals.
Maria Marlowe: [00:07:18] Recently, someone emailed me and said that they saw a video that I had on YouTube that really inspired them to become a health coach, which I thought was really cool. And I actually forgot about the video because it was from 2013 or 2014. It was a day in my life, and so I decided to revisit the video and look at it. And what was interesting was that I talked about my future in the video and I talked about all the things that I wanted to accomplish. So I wanted to write a book. I wanted to do more public speaking. I wanted to grow and expand my practice. And lo and behold, I have accomplished all of the goals that I mentioned back then. And so it was kind of cool to see that because it was a perfect example of how having clarity around what you want is really the first step to getting what you want.
Maria Marlowe: [00:08:14] So that said, I’m going to share a few questions with you that will help get the creative juices flowing and help you start thinking about where you want to be exactly three years from now. So you can write these in your journal and answer them and get as in-depth for each of these questions as you want. So from three, exactly three years from today, what does your life look like? What do you look like? What does your environment look like? Who are the main people in your life? What does your career or business look like? Who’s on your team? What’s the overall experience that you’re having? What does your typical day look like? How much money are you making? What is important to you? Where is your focus?
Maria Marlowe: [00:09:15] So all of these questions are from Dr. Benjamin Hardy. Again, he’s the one that kind of introduced me to this whole future self concept. So if you want to learn more, dive deeper, you can definitely check him out. But these questions are a great place to start. And remember, you don’t have to know how you will get there just where you want to be. So that’s step one.
Maria Marlowe: [00:09:37] Step two is becoming your future self or embodying your future self. And there are a few ways that you can do that through daily visualization, journaling, environmental design, and courageous action. So daily visualization – that’s pretty self-explanatory. Whoever it is that you want to be in the future or whatever it is that you want to accomplish, think about it, visualize it in your head every single day. And the more you do that, the more real it becomes. And visualization is a technique that a lot of athletes use, for example, to help them break records and achieve the goals that they want to achieve. They visualize it first, and Dr. Hardy talks about kind of the science behind it and why it’s effective. So it’s quite interesting if you want to dig a little bit deeper.
Maria Marlowe: [00:10:30] But just know that daily visualization is really important for, you know, going after your goals and achieving the things that you want to achieve. It’s one of the early steps to help you get there. Journaling every day, kind of keeping the things that you want to do top of mind is important. So that future self journal posts that you just did in step one, well keep that top of mind. Keep that somewhere where you can see it and that you can revisit it often. So it’s always top of mind.
Maria Marlowe: [00:11:02] Environment design. So if your goal is, let’s say, to eat healthier or to exercise more, a few things that you can do to make your environment more conducive to that would be to get rid of all the junk food in your house. Fill it with healthy, nutritious foods. That would be one easy step. Another thing you could do is lay out your workout clothes the night before so that’s the first thing that you see when you get up, so you make sure that you go for your run or do your workout. So taking steps like that where you’re setting up your environment to lead to success, you’re creating the environment that is conducive to becoming your future self.
Maria Marlowe: [00:11:43] And courageous action. That’s simply taking the actions as your future self. And it’s also sharing. It’s sharing what your future goals are with other people. There is some research to suggest that when we share our goals and our dreams with other people, that it helps us achieve them, right? Because we’re not only accountable to ourselves, but to other people and other people are going to ask about them, how’s our progress, how are we doing and how are we moving towards our goals? And so it lights the fire a little bit stronger underneath us to actually move towards our goals.
Maria Marlowe: [00:12:23] Something that I’ve been doing is whenever I’m trying to make a decision, I ask myself, is this the decision of myself or how would my future self decide? What would my future self do? And that kind of alter ego in a way makes certain actions that may seem too big or too scary for my current self, well, it becomes easier because I’m not acting as my current self. I’m acting as my future self who has less fear and who is more courageous than I am. So it’s these little mental tricks I really feel like make a really big difference.
Maria Marlowe: [00:13:00] Step three is to invest in your future self. When we spend money on things, we are more likely to follow through with them. I have experienced this so many times myself, whether it’s me paying for something and making sure I do it. So I remember when I was younger, group fitness classes, I mean, they’re still popular now, of course, but they were really expensive and they were really popular in my early 20s and I wanted to do them. So I bought a monthly pass. Instead of paying thirty-five dollars a class, I bought a monthly pass, but I wanted to get my money’s worth, so I made sure I was at that fitness studio every single day, killing myself. I couldn’t walk because I was so sore from all the workouts, but I wanted to make sure I was getting my money worth, right? I was getting every last penny.
Maria Marlowe: [00:13:56] Whereas in my practice as a health coach and nutritionist in the past when I had against my better judgment offered free sessions to people, my experience has always been that they don’t actually show up. So I had this one time very early on in my career where someone had emailed me and gave me this whole sob story about how they were overweight and they were sick and they were a dad and they really needed help and they didn’t have money. And la la la and I felt bad for the person, so I agreed to offer my services free of charge. And this was at a time where I had a physical office and I’m paying rent for the space and the guy never showed up.
Maria Marlowe: [00:14:40] And so after that, I had really, you know, it drove home the point that people value what they pay for. It’s the same thing with the purse. If you buy a purse for ten dollars, you’re going to treat it very differently than if you buy a purse that costs a thousand dollars or five thousand dollars. And it’s really the same across the board. So people value what they pay for. So if you, let’s say, want to start a business or want to learn some subject, buy a course or invest in yourself, take a class, do whatever it takes to show yourself that you’re serious and to also give yourself a little bit of structure around your future goals.
Maria Marlowe: [00:15:23] So whenever I want to learn something new, I take a course on the subject. Like, even right now, I am in the process of creating and launching a physical product, which I have never done before. And so I don’t have a ton of experience in this area in terms of how to really sell this effectively online. So I bought a course on the subject so I could figure it out. When you invest in your future self, you give yourself structure and you encourage yourself to actually follow through with moving towards those goals that you want to achieve.
Maria Marlowe: [00:16:02] Step four – Focus on the gain, not the gap. This is a concept that I again learned from Dr. Benjamin Hardy, and it comes from Dan Sullivan, and they wrote a book together called The Gap and the Gain. So the premise between the gap and the gain. The gain is your success or the gains or your successes, whereas the gaps may be those not-so-successful times. And so a lot of people or most people tend to focus on the failures, they tend to focus on what went wrong, where really, if you want to continuously move forward to bigger and better things, you have to focus on the gains. You have to focus on the successes, what went well, what were the positive things that happened. And when you do this, you set yourself up for success and you get some momentum and you keep moving forward.
Maria Marlowe: [00:17:03] When you focus on the failure, you tend to get stuck, you tend to procrastinate more. You tend to wallow in self-pity and self-doubt. So it’s really not beneficial, and that’s obviously not moving you forward. So it’s really important to focus on the gain, the successes, not the gap. What they recommend in the book is that every 30 or 90 days, you answer these three questions. The first question is, what were the five biggest wins in this time period, right, whether it was 30 or 90 days? The second question is, what about your current situation gives you the most confidence and excitement? The third question is what are the five jumps or the five wins in the next 30 to 90 days that will create the biggest impact?
Maria Marlowe: [00:18:02] According to them, that first question may be the most important because it helps you frame your past in a positive way. When you focus on the progress and what went well, you’re more excited and able to move forward because you want to achieve more of that success. When you focus on the lack, that’s when you get those feelings of being stuck.
Maria Marlowe: [00:18:29] So that’s it. Those are the four steps to help move you towards your future self. I hope it inspires you to do a little self-reflection and to start fleshing out who your future self is so you can start becoming her or him. If you implement any of these powerful practices into your life and you want to share how it went, you can head over to Instagram @mariamarlowe. Marlowe is spelled with a w e at the end to tell me how it goes. And I’ll leave you with one quote to help you before you dive into all this work. This quote is from Robert Brault, and he has said, “We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles, but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” So, as always, dream big, have a wonderful week, and I will catch you on the next episode.