Emotions can be used in two ways: To understand the way we feel, and to use it proactively to influence our future behaviour.
Regret happens after an event. We can't change the past, but we can harness regret to improve our future by visualising how our future self will feel about the decision we make now. If you think that your future self will feel fine about the decision, then it is a perfectly valid conclusion.
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Acting upon the reality of who you are now versus who you want to become is an important part of caring for your future self.
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We get preoccupied with things that make us busy in the present and often forget about our future selves. Here are some ways we can help remind ourselves:
It’s your ability to resolve conflicts between your short-term desires and your long-term goals.
For example, successful self-control means sacrificing immediate pleasure (cookies a...
People who have high self-control aren’t missing out on enjoyment. Not being able to resist temptation and enjoying life are not the same things.
They tend to eat in a healthily way, exercise more, sleep better, drink less alcohol, smoke fewer cigarettes, achieve higher grades at university, have more peaceful relationships, and are more financially secure.
Research showed that self-control is ultimately limited by our biology. We can’t exercise effortful self-control indefinitely – the brain has to do regular maintenance to remain functional.
There is a view that sees self-control as a battle between impulsivity and deliberate foresight. This idea has roots in ideas from ancient Greeks.
The International Society...
People can use their foresight to prioritise the present. Many behaviours that seem like a lack of willpower are not caused by a reluctance to plan ahead. Instead, they come from our capacity for long-term thinking.
For example, our decision-making can be influenced by the motivation to avoid future regrets about missing out. People foresee their own reliable tendency to spend money on boring essentials. Pre-committing to indulgences forces us to have some fun.
People living in poverty tend to favour smaller immediate rewards over a larger delayed payoff.
A possible reason for this is if you live in a highly uncertain environment or where people tend not to keep their promises, a farsighted view will lead you to get what you can now. Even children will use background information when forming expectations about whether their patience will pay off.
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