What do you hope your life will be like in a year?
What we expect is based on what is happening now and what has happened in the past. For many of us, what is happening now is a version of what has happened in the past. Predictably, unless something changes, we will be living another version of our past or present in the future.
Why is that? We really are creatures of habit. That’s how we have survived as a species and that’s how we survive now.
“Your conscious mind is what you use to define, articulate and set goals. But it’s your nonconscious mind that follows through with all the dozens, hundreds or millions of actions necessary to achieve goals.” John Assaraff.
In his book The Answer, John Assaraff explains that in any given moment the nonconscious brain processes something like 400,000,000,000 (400 Billion) bits of data while the conscious brain processes only about 2000. Additionally, only 2% to 4% of control of our perception and behavior is managed by the conscious and 96% to 98% is controlled by the nonconscious. In other words, most of our perception and behavior is automatic. We do what we do and think what we think automatically the vast majority of the time.
The brain helps us survive by turning routines and patterns into habits. We no longer have to think about how to get to work or back home again. We no longer have to work hard to remember the name of the new coworker or neighbor. Because we have repeated the route and the name often enough for the brain to drop it into automatic mode, we no longer have to use valuable conscious energy. And that frees us up to focus our conscious attention on other things like planning and imagination.
The programming for the 96% to 98% of perception and behavior which is handled by the nonconscious is determined by what the conscious has assigned to the nonconscious.
In this way, we expect things that are routine to be the same today as they were last week. When something unpredictable happens, it gets our attention. Otherwise, our attention is free to focus on what is important or interesting to us.
So back to the first question. What do you expect your life to look like in a year? Look at your life today. Some version of that life is what you can expect a year from now.
Now for the second question. What do you hope your life will be like in a year?
Simply contemplating your answer to that question will begin to change what happens over the next 365 days. To answer the question, you must access your imagination (conscious). By doing so, you begin a new pattern that the brain will start to notice and, if repeated often enough, will begin to turn your new thoughts into thought habits. When thoughts become habits they get downloaded into the nonconscious and become automatic thoughts.
This is important because we act and react according to our thoughts about the circumstances of our lives. Despite the appearance that circumstances cause us to react the way we do, what we think about what happens determines how we feel about and react to any given circumstance.
Consider that we all have a vision for our lives. You may or may not be consciously aware of that vision. If you are not aware of it, your future will be directed by your nonconscious. By changing the way you view the circumstances of your life, you can change the trajectory of your life. One of the quickest ways to change your view is to imagine the future you want. This re-vision will place you in a much different space in your future life.
Now a new question. What will you do today to have the life you want one year from today?