The Most Important Interview of the YearDec 29, 2022
I don’t know about you, but this time of year my brain gets very reflective. It starts to think and evaluate and assess where I have been, how far I have come, what I am grateful for and what I want to change. I also think about the future and what I want to create in the coming year.
We can take advantage of endings and beginnings (like New Year’s) and use them as a way to check in with ourselves and see if we like what we are creating in our lives or if there are things we want to do differently.
In this episode, I’ll show you how to interview your past and future selves to evaluate the past year and plan the next one.
Looking to the past
Evaluating what we’ve done is an important part of planning what we want to do next. But our brain’s way of doing this can be pretty painful, and it often comes with a lot of shame.
Your brain says, “Hey, listen, I found a lot of problems with last year, and now I have a fix-it list for next year.”
It becomes this huge list of disappointments, failures and requirements. And that makes it really hard to love who you are and where you are right now.
If you want to create more in your life, you have to love what you have already created.
The most important interview of the year
I love a good tell-all interview. It lets us see what’s going on inside other people’s heads. But this time the interview is going to be with yourself.
Imagine that you are the interviewer (I like to channel Oprah here because she is so compassionate with her subjects).
First, you’ll interview past you - the one that just lived 2022.
Then, you’ll interview future you - the one who is going to live 2023.
It isn’t an interrogation or a high-pressure situation. The key is to get curious with yourself. You are exploring and learning as much as you can from these two versions of you.
Interviewing “past you”
Imagine that you are an actual person sitting across from you - someone you’ve never met before. And you want to know everything about them, what makes them tick, what makes them do the things they do.
There is no shame here, no judgment, just collecting information.
It doesn't matter if “present you” or “future you” would do it differently. What matters is how “past you” did it and why.
We always start with the wins because our brain is always going to be focused on the losses and failures.
Instead, we want to start by connecting with your creative ability for the things in your life.
We have to know that we were the creators in the past to have the hope and belief that we can create things in the future.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- What were the highlights from this year (try to come up with 100)?
- What were the things you are appreciative to past you for doing?
- What were your favorite thoughts?
- What were your favorite feelings?
- What were your favorite actions that you took this year?
- And what were your favorite results?
Next, ask yourself gently, lovingly, “What do I wish would have been different.” This should be a short list - no more than three things - so that you don’t get stuck in disappointment, overwhelm and shame.
What were the thoughts that caused you to make those choices this year? You always have a good reason for the actions that you have taken. And you want to know what those thoughts and feelings were so that you can flag it, remember it and look for it like a clue in your future.
Interviewing “future you”
You might be surprised by how much good information “future you” has to offer. Future you knows and believes things that you don’t right now. Because they are already living the way you want to live.
The goal in your interview with “future you” is to suspend your disbelief.
Right now, you have some limiting beliefs that future you doesn't have. Future you is already sitting in those results. They already have the things they want in their life, and they already know that you can have it.
Ask your future self:
- What is different about their life than your life today?
- What do you think that I’m not thinking? What do you believe about me that I don’t believe about myself yet? What do you know about me that I don’t know?
- What are the feelings that you feel the most day in and day out? What are you willing to feel that I'm not willing to feel right now?
- What are you doing that I'm not doing? What are the daily actions you are taking that are adding up?
Future you is the exact same person you are today. But you are going to choose to think differently, feel differently and do differently to create what you want in the coming year.
Research shows that the more connected you are to your future self, the wiser decisions you make in the present.
We have a brand new year ahead of us and future you is coming no matter what. I think you might as well get the future that you want.
- Exercises and to help you evaluate the last year and plan the next in a productive, useful way
- How to use your past thoughts to change your future choices
- Be Your Future Self Now by Dr. Benjamin Hardy
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