There’s a version of yourself in the future who will benefit from what you do today, but you can’t discover what those benefits are unless you put in the work consistently over time. Behind the curtain of any new habit lies surprises you can’t yet see.
Easiest example of this is physical exercise. You can do pushups today but you’re not going to see immediate results. Only over time will you see the benefit that they yield via the physical transformation of your body. Only after 90 days will you be able to say “Wow! Look at the progress I’ve made!!!”
While you can visualise and try to picture yourself in this fitter leaner more improved shape, along the way you’re going to see a lot of surprises. You’re going to watch your body mould and shift and change in new ways that you never expected.
I believe that this is the same with all new habits. There are benefits that you can’t anticipate. That you will be surprised by. Only though the implementation and the follow through will you be able to surprise yourself and discover what those benefits are.
For example I recently took a week off of smoking pot (for me that’s a lot haha), and on day 6 I noticed that I was strangely happy. That I was in a good mood for no particular reason. I felt like I had great energy. It was a surprise I didn’t anticipate.
Another example is that I’ve recently been focusing on training nose breathing while I exercise. At first this was really difficult to keep my mouth closed as I go for an intense run or bike ride. But lo and behold after a few weeks one day I noticed myself taking huge breaths through my nose and it felt like I had a 2nd lung. Felt like I could push way harder. Physiologically felt incredible afterwards as well. It was a surprise I didn’t anticipate.
Behind the curtains of any new habit lies a surprise waiting for you. The unexpected gift that comes from hard work day after day consistently.
It helps to remember this, to visualise it, to anchor yourself towards it. To remind yourself that you are moving in the right direction.
In fact, as Andrew Huberman explains in this video, having a goal and moving towards it releases dopamine which then creates a positive feedback loop of feeling good as you execute on your goals. The simple act of pausing and taking notice that you have taken a positive step forwards is enough to do this. Doing this repetitively, consistently, over time, will then change your brain and you will ENJOY moving towards your goals (another unexpected benefit!).
Thus, having the anchor of being excited for what lies behind the curtain, being excited to discover the surprise that awaits you, is a powerful image to work towards and help you remain focused.
Life is a series of discoveries. Behind each curtain opens up a new world of possibilities. I like to look at it as those role playing games where you can only see a small portion of the map, and as you walk in a new direction the map opens up and you can see new land. Same principle is at work. Only by walking to the edges of the map can you discover the new terrain that lies ahead.
What lies behind the curtain for you?