Future You '22 - The Annual Theme & Manifesto

Hello and welcome to the year 2022.

If you haven’t seen my previous annual themes you can read them here:
Optimism 2020
Build 2021

Both served me very well. Optimism 2020 was chosen before Covid was a thing, and was a useful reminder throughout what was a sometimes sad and frustrating year.

I lived up to my Build 2021 theme by starting my newest company, which is going extremely well and which I hope to be able to say more about very soon!

Which brings us to 2022.

As I’ve succeeded in some parts of life, other parts have been more difficult to conquer. For example, I wrote about how I lost 25 pounds riding my Peloton, which felt amazing and literally life changing.

However, I’ve since put all that weight back on. It’s hard to admit that publicly, but whatever it’s true. The hardest part for me is not eating too much. I eat emotionally - it helps me when I’m bored, and makes me feel better when I’m in a funk (which can sometimes happen running a startup, though that’s no excuse)

As I was talking to a friend about this, she[1] brought up another issue that we both deal with: every single time we work out we feel amazing, but somehow it's always a big struggle to work out.

It feels great in the moment, and is good for you long term.

So why is it so hard to do the things right now that you already know you truly want to do?

Which brings me to Future You ‘22.

Future You '22 is about remembering your future self. It’s about taking into account tomorrow’s feelings when you make today’s decisions. It means thinking longer term and making the sacrifices necessary so your future self can merit the benefits.

And even as I use that word “sacrifice”, a fundamental principle of this theme is that many things that benefit us in the long term also benefit us right now!

- Nothing feels better than a finished workout
- Not spending money means you have less crap around your house and fewer financial worries, right now
- Improving yourself to make yourself more dateable can be fun & rewarding in and of itself

So this isn’t even really about sacrifice, or convincing yourself to undertake some form of hardship.

It’s more about reminding yourself, Hey, I know I want this thing. I know it’s good for me later, but what I need now is an activation energy boost to get stared.

Future You ‘22 is the excuse you need to get off your butt and go walk for even 5 minutes. It’s the excuse to go play your favorite sport with someone. It’s a reason for telling someone you’re not interested in that drink or desert.

It’s a way to get out of any short term obstacle that would detract you from what you already know you want to do.

So if you’re ever stuck in a moment where you need to say no or yes to some decision, use Future You ‘22 as an excuse. Use me as excuse. Tell your friend of spouse or whoever “I’m sorry, I’d love to get drinks/eat dessert/watch that movie instead of working out but I’m doing a thing with a friend and we promised each other we’d say no” or whatever you want.

“I’m going to work out because I know tomorrow I’ll be so much happier.”

“I’m going to call my parents because I know having a good relationship with them will bring me joy.”

“I will write this newsletter today and next week and every week thereafter because I know my future self will benefit from it.”

With that, here's the Future You 22' Manifesto:

The Future You '22 Manifesto

  1. Your future self is just as real as you are today
  2. Doing things that help you later often feel good right.
  3. Nothing will make you feel like a badass faster than keeping promises to yourself
  4. Use whatever excuse you need to do the things you already know you want to do.
  5. Other people are impressed by discipline, even if they never say it
  6. The hardest part is always starting
  7. No zero days - something is always better than nothing
  8. Your future self is just as worthy of love as your best friends & family
  9. Nobody's perfect
  10. At some point you simply just decide to become who you want to be

\[1]: Shoutout to Cynthia McGillis for helping me riff on the name of this theme

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