We all need something to look forward to

In my work I support my clients to look at the things they want to change, we look at the situations they are not happy with, I work with them to support them in working things through and together, we look at what’s important in their lives.

I encourage them to live in the present, to not worry about the past and not to fear the future. I encourage them to enjoy the here and now and to live for today. But whilst living in the present is very beneficial in lots of ways, sometimes it can feel tedious, a bit frustrating and for some people it can seem quite intolerable.

Together we look at ways to get through the challenges, we look for other options and when we come up with an answer or any kind of a breakthrough, the immediate change in my client’s mood and often their posture and body language, is immense.

Sometimes that’s down to the sheer relief that we’ve cracked it but very often it’s the realisation that they now have something to look forward to.

Having that light at the end of the tunnel feeling, something to hope for and dream about is essential and makes life much happier and well, easier – everything feels better with the world.

A sense of anticipation is so important. It can help energise us and can get us through both the mediocre and the tough times. Something positive to look forward to helps us build the discipline and motivation that we need to help us tolerate whatever we are currently going through and it helps us to keep on going.

In research, looking forward to events proved to be far more enjoyable than looking forward to buying or receiving material things. When we book a summer holiday, a day out or perhaps a theatre ticket, even though it could be way off in the future, it gives us an immediate hit of positivity. That keeps us going for the months ahead and helps us to cope with whatever is thrown at us in the meantime.

In our current circumstances this type of planning is a little harder and the events may have to take place a lot nearer to home than we are used to and maybe a bit further into the future. But it’s all possible. You don’t have to stop making your plans, you can tailor them to a different destination, to a revised budget.

Whatever it is, plan it, anticipate it and savour every last minute. It doesn’t have to be a huge thing, it doesn’t have to be a major goal. Pick something that makes you happy and that makes you feel good – you’ll know it’s the right thing because you will feel physically and mentally different, you will feel excited.

I think we are often much happier in the anticipation of an event than in the actual experience. I’ve always said I love Christmas and that is true, however in the last few years I’ve realised that it’s the lead up to Christmas that I love. The anticipation of what’s to come, the cosiness of the glittering lights and the plans and preparations that need to be made. For me that’s exactly where the excitement is.

So my 3 tips for you are:

Tip #1

Add something to your calendar for 3, 6 and 9 months from now.

Tip #2

Allow yourself to dream – don’t immediately dump your ideas because they might not be possible right away.

Tip #3

Satisfy your anxious mind by creating a Plan B. For instance if it’s impossible to get a holiday abroad this year then make some plans to have a summer holiday in the UK. Don’t see it as second best, put as much effort into the planning as you normally would.

Anticipating an exciting future situation will get us through a difficult present situation. As human beings we need things in our future to be excited about and most of us want (and need) to feel optimistic.

Don’t wait around for somebody else to plan it or to invite you, create it yourself. If you give yourself something to look forward to, I guarantee your world will instantly become a better and brighter place.

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