“I just want you to know how much I appreciate you. I mean, none of this would be possible if it weren’t for you.”
I sniff noisily into my Kleenex.
“Like, NONE of this.”
This is not a conversation I have out loud. I do, however, have some version of this conversation in my mind with my 2008 self on a regular basis.
My 2008 self – that scrappy, newly-single, saddled with $50,000 of school debt self – had the gumption and forethought to plant the seeds for the life I have today.
My 2008 self paid $375 a month on her school loans, even when she was living on her own and her take-home pay was $2,000 a month.
My 2008 self spent every lunch hour leaving comments on other blogs, building friendships and professional relationships I still have today.
My 2008 self slathered on moisturizer with SPF every day, even though she thought she didn’t need it. Even when it was overcast and cold.
And my 2018 self is reaping the benefits. Thanks Former Self! You’re the best! I love you!
I not exactly a bastion of forethought. I’m actually the captain of the S.S. Instant Gratification. Left to my less-great inclinations, I head up team Why Don’t I See Results Yet Let’s Give Up.
But at the risk of really running this metaphor into the ground, that’s not how seeds or plants or plans work.
I’d never plant a marigold seed and return the next day expecting a flower. I wouldn’t dig up the seeds after two days and yell at them. I’d water them and give them the time, space, and sun they needed to grow.We'd never plant a seed and expect a flower the next day. Plant seeds for Future You and then step back, have patience, and give them time to grow. Click To Tweet
In my course Bank Boost* we do something called an Earning Spree. For six weeks, we get out of our comfort zones together and do all sorts of things to bring in extra money. Some of the things we do bring immediate dollars. We sell old sports equipment on Craigslist. We start driving for Lyft.
But we also plant seeds for our future selves, for our future financial health. We send pitches. We run promotions. We finally post about our dog-sitting services on Facebook and Nextdoor. We ask for a raise or send out feelers for a new job.
And maybe the results are not quite as immediate as finally selling that Nordic-track, but they add up. They bloom into something wonderful.
9 ways to plant seeds for Future You
1. Set up an auto-transfer from your checking account to your savings. $15 a month. $75. Maybe your savings account is in another bank so you’re less likely to fuss with it. Slowly but surely, you’ll build a nest-egg without even thinking about it.
2. If there’s something that dramatically improves your life but you always forget to buy – vitamins, new toothbrush heads, non-hole-y underwear – sign up for a monthly subscription service that delivers those life-improving things to your doorstep.
Or just buy them in bulk.
3. Similarly, if there’s a service that dramatically improves your life and you go too long between appointments – therapy, massages, car detailing – schedule your next appointment as you finish your current one. If you really want to create accountability, pre-pay so you don’t skip out.
4. Create a habit of sending one ‘reach out’ message every day. A DM on social media telling someone you appreciate their work, an email to someone you met at a conference. Future You will have an amazing network of friends and professional peers.
5. When you know you’ve got a tough time coming up, sit down with your calendar and literally schedule breaks and fun into your month. In three weeks, you’ll be so glad you had the foresight to schedule that matinee with your sister or that quiet night at home.
6. Put granola bars (or another snack of your choice) in your bag, in your desk, and in your glove compartment. I swear to you, doing this saves me hundreds of dollars every year and prevents so many mid-afternoon-out-and-about Taco Bell runs.
7. Open your calendar for 2019 and block off one weekend each quarter. What are you going to do on those weekends? Who knows? But since you’ve saved the space, it’s less likely that you’ll reach the end of the year saying “I never took that trip!”
8. Got an idea? Buy the url.
9. Going on a trip or vacation? Put fresh sheets on the bed, make sure you’ve got some pizza in the freezer, and schedule an Instacart delivery for a few hours after you get home.
I want to hear from you! What seeds did Former You plant that you’re now harvesting? What seeds can you plant right now? Tell us in the comments to create public accountability!