Some day, you'll have an overflowing savings account and six-pack abs. Not today, mind you, but one day in the future.
For most people, unfortunately, that day never arrives. We're so busy pushing the goal off that it becomes something a future version of ourselves will do, not us as we are now.
According to new research, the way to make those goals actually happen involves cutting out the link between "future you" and "present you."
The study found participants were much more likely to begin to study for a test or plan a party if the time leading up the goal was presented in days, not years or months.
For the 162 study participants, a goal months away seemed 29.7 days earlier when that was the unit of measurement used. When researchers changed a years-long goal to months, respondents thought it was 8.7 months shorter. That's a big difference.
The takeaway: Plan goals in days, minutes or hours. It'll keep your head focused in the present, and make the final result seem a little more urgent.
Daphna Oyserman, head researcher, calls her team's method a way of strategizing that "does not require willpower" and "is not about having character or caring."
Start counting down days, and your goals will thank you.