Are you guilty of future tripping? I absolutely am!
What is future tripping
At its most basic, future tripping is when we occupy our time thinking in terms of the future. While there are a number of reasons why we all do it, it’s basically when we’re stuck in what we want our future to look like that we lose out on the present.
I first heard the term used by Jess Lively, and thought to myself, shit that’s what people have meant all those times they told me to enjoy the present!
Future tripping usually occurs in two ways:
1. We’re too busy worrying about the future, or end results of thing we’re doing to enjoy the present so we end up future tripping
2. We don’t like a situation we’re in, but not ready to make a change, so end up fantasizing about our future instead.
For me, I spend a lot of time thinking about what my future holds, what I want to do, what I want to create, what I want to do with my time tomorrow.
Basically, future tripping is leaving the present to worry about the future.
Future tripping is something we all do to some extent, some more than others. And it’s something we’re brought up learning to do. What do you want to be when you grow up? What do you want to do with your life? You need to think about the future! Sound familiar?!
Here are some examples of how future tripping happens in our everyday life:
- Getting an opportunity/job and only focusing on how its going to impact future career decisions in a couple of years time, instead of celebrating new things
- Sitting in your office, dreaming of travelling and not doing anything to achieve it, other than spending an obscene amount of time on Trip Advisor at home
- Being at the dining room table surrounded by your loved ones, thinking not of how much your loved ones mean to you, but worrying about that deadline/chores/the kitchen sink.
- Spending all your time talking about the future
The thing about future tripping? We miss out on some great things that are happening/could be happening right now.
Don’t get me wrong, future tripping is a great form of escapism and can be the source of making some huge changes in your life. But, if your circumstances aren’t great (you’re in a relationship/job/house/place that doesn’t serve you), you can easily sink into the black hole of future tripping.
Now, I could talk until the cows come home (or until Michael Buble shows up at my front door) about the importance of being present/ways to be present, but that’s of no use if you can’t see the dark underside of future tripping.
Future tripping helps you to imagine change, but without actually doing something to get it.
That’s until you wake up one day, realise how truly shit you find the situation to discover that you’re not any nearer to solving the situation. And that can be a pretty dark place.
You know what they say about how visualising your goals/telling someone you know about them can give you the same feeling of euphoria that you’d feel in achieving them? With future tripping, it’s the same.
You can get so stuck in dreaming about your future, or worrying about the future, that you’ve completely let go of the present.
Future-tripping’s best friend
That’s where action and planning comes into it – future tripping’s counterpart. When we actively do things to change a situation, that’s when we make the changes.
But, no matter how much you hate the reality, unless you truly acknowledge it, you’re not going to do anything to change it.
And if you spend most of your life stuck in future tripping, you’re sure as hell not going to enjoy it.
So what can you do to stop yourself from being caught in the trap of future tripping?
1. Be gentle with yourself – future tripping is learnt behaviour and takes a long time to change.
2. Recognise when you’re future tripping and bring yourself back to the present.
3. Create some practices that keep you in the present:
When you’re getting ready to go to something that you know you’ll really enjoy (a birthday meal, visiting friends/relatives, going on a big trip or just going on a walk in beautiful weather), grab a piece of paper and write a list of what you’re currently worrying about. Leave your worries behind on that piece of paper. It’s up to you if you pick them back up when you return.
Start a gratitude practice. Each evening find three good things that have happened during your day to make you smile. Doing this right before you go to bed can make for a much better night’s sleep.
Absorb the moment. When you’re in a good situation, lap it up. Take a mental photograph of the moment, and enjoy it.
Future tripping is a call to action.
Whether that’s making a big change in your life, or a call to live in the present, that’s up to you.
Stay tuned as I have a very exciting post to come about how I’m taking action against future tripping in my own life, right now!