Cures for self-interrupting

Those of us with a fitness YouTube habit know the fundamental truth of getting painful stuff over with: it goes quicker if you don’t pause it.

Self-interrupting is an enormous issue for me — and therefore, I can only assume, for others. The only way I can get through anything without opening a different device, app, website, bottle of water, note book, daydream window, etc is to try to develop some kind of compassion for Future Me.

Ah, Future Me. That patsy. All the crap gets dumped on Future Me: the energy cost of late nights, the financial woes, the empty larders marked ‘knowledge’ and ‘experience’ and ‘fitness’. Sometimes it’s just thoughtlessness, other times I actually screw with Future Me on purpose! What a psychopath I am. But it’s OK because Present Me is the only real one, isn’t it? Isn’t that what mindfulness has taught us?

Not quite. Our present is plagued by the debts we’ve racked up, and if we choose to ignore them, we only rack up more. Never mind Future Me: self-interrupting imagines the present doesn’t bear the weight of Past Me – it’s a denial of the reality of the present. Mindfulness is a nice representation for this idea, with all the stuff about watching our thoughts glide by like clouds.

A healthy Present Me acknowledges the busy-ness that’s built up over time, and doesn’t hide from it.

Self-interrupting is evasion. Whenever we’re doing anything vaguely challenging, we want to be in a different place and time. Modern living presents us with continual escape routes from the dreaded present moment.

By way of today’s challenge, here are my tips for today:

1) Get stuff in your ‘future bank’

If you’ve ever had a piggy bank, if you’ve ever managed to not eat an entire family sized bag of sweets in one go, if you’ve ever saved anything, you can save your time and energy up without sabotaging it through interruption. Start taking pleasure in banking time and energy and watching your ‘savings’ grow.

2) Remember: the less you interrupt yourself, the sooner it’s over

And the sooner you can get on with reaping the benefits as a heartily rewarded Future You!

3) Visualise your own future with compassion

Bit of a weird one, but the power of visualisation is not to be sniffed at. Think of your future self as someone really worth giving stuff to. You’re presenting gifts to that person, really visualise your future self as someone with tremendous value who you treasure. Because there’s a bit of distance, this should be easier than the usual ‘love yourself’ stuff. Love your future self. They’re a bit like you in many ways, but so far they’re at the mercy of your choices. Give them less shit to deal with.