There could be a solution to your procrastination – and it’s simpler than you could ever make it yourself.
A new study in Psychological Science states that some goals are difficult to reach because each person essentially believes that they are two different people: Present Me and Future Me. Ironically, Present Me is more important than Future Me, preferring to fulfill their current self’s needs and wants over that of their future selves.
People assume they should attend to the present; their future self can handle the future.
Researchers wanted to explore how people could be made to think of their future selves as more connected to their current selves. As in, Present Me is forced to think about how Future Me would feel the night before a big presentation, and Present Me had never bothered to start.
Through a series of experiments, the researchers found that when the subjects thought about a future event in terms of days – as opposed to months or years – it seemed like they would arrive sooner. In later follow-ups, the researchers wanted to find out if people would act sooner if they measured an upcoming event in days.
As it turns out, they did.
When participants were told to imagine that they had a newborn child, who would need to go to college in either 18 years or 6,570 days, researchers found those in the “days” condition planned to start saving four times sooner than those in the “years” condition.
This was also the case when controlling for income, age, and self-control.
Thinking about future events in days does enable a person to feel more like his or her future self.
So, you may want to sit down with a calendar and a calculator.
Title image: Farrahgray.com