This is another exercise I learned from Mark Divine.  The “Future Self” exercise is a visualization practice to help you see yourself as you would like to be.  As the saying goes, “If your mind can conceive it, and your heart can believe it, then you can achieve it.”

This visualization can also be thought of as creating or altering your identity. Of course, this exercise assumes that you want to change, evolve, or be a better version of yourself. In the book “Atomic Habits”, James Clear discusses the importance of identity and how it relates to creating new habits or breaking old ones. He says there are three layers of behavior change.

1. The first layer is changing your outcomes.
2. The second layer is changing your process.
3. The third and deepest level is changing your identity.

In the book, he says the problem is not that one layer is more important than the other but rather the direction of change. Many people begin by focusing on what they want to achieve. An alternative approach is to focus on who you want to become.

In his book, “I Forgot to Die”,  Khalil Rafati, has a transformative moment when his sponsor finally asks him a simple question, “Who would you be without your story?” Khalil was a recovering drug addict who had come from an abusive home, dropped out of high school, and now at nearly 40 years of age was challenged by his sponsor to let go of the past and focus on the future. Kahlil is now owner of Malibu BeachYoga and Sunlife Organics a popular juice and smoothie bar with over 10 locations throughout California which making millions of dollars a year.

The “Future Self” visualization is designed to help you become your best optimized self.

Start this exercise by finding a quiet place to sit and meditate.  Then begin by box breathing taking deep breaths in the following manner.  Breathe in for five seconds, hold five seconds, exhale for five seconds, hold for five and repeat.  While doing this method of deep breathing begin to visualize yourself as if you are the person you want to be.  How do you feel?  How do you look?  How do you act?  Continue to visualize yourself as this person until it becomes very real to you.

Once you have created your future self, begin to act “as if” you are that person.  If you, at anytime, are having difficulty seeing yourself as being successful, you can come back to this exercise to recreate your “future self” again and again.  The more you practice the more real it will become and the greater your chance of turning your goal into reality.

This exercise is one that is great to start the new year. It works best if integrated with the other exercises that are part of the spiritual challenge such as eliminating the negative stories and beliefs (BOO), positively believing you can achieve it (What Wolf Are You Feeding), and of course, massive action.