Think of the Future in Days, Not Years, to Meet Your Goals

Posted on May 5, 2015

When given the choice, we often choose our present needs over the needs of our future selves. In fact, a recent study indicates that we see our future selves as a stranger - we don't care what happens to them down the line. Even though we probably should.

Lead researcher Daphna Oyserman of the University of Southern California thinks there's a solution - a way to hack our brains to create a connection to the future and push our present selves to action. All you have to do is frame time in days instead of years.

Alongside her team of researchers, Oyserman devised a series of seven studies to examine people's perception of time and pursuing goals. For one of the experiments, researchers asked a series of online participants how soon would they start saving for one of two scenarios: college or retirement — both very important future investments, but framed the question in units of either days or years. For example, when would they start saving for college that started in either 18 years or 6,570 days? How about for retirement starting in either 30 years or in 10,950 days?

The participants stated that they would start saving four times sooner when given the "days" condition over the "years" condition.

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Source material from Big Think

Mental Health News