Want To Make Tomorrow Better? Get To Know Your Future Self Today | Hal Hershfield

How can we make better choices today to benefit our future selves? Hal Hershfield outlines strategies like visualizing your future self, writing letters, making commitments, and recognizing that your preferences will change over time.

Hal is a Professor of Marketing, Behavioral Decision Making, and Psychology at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and holds the UCLA Anderson Board of Advisors Term Chair in Management. His research, which sits at the intersection of psychology and economics, examines the ways we can improve our long-term decisions. He joins us on this episode to discuss his new book, “Your Future Self: How to Make Tomorrow Better Today“.

It was so tempting to make this conversation with Hal really philosophical. Is our future self the same person as today, or more like a stranger? Do memories make us who we are? How can we bridge the existential gap between our future self and current self?

But listeners will be glad to know that Kurt and Tim also delve into the practical aspects of Hal’s research, touching on how we can help ourselves plan for the future. The biggest take away though is that Hal emphasizes the need to make sacrifices feel psychologically easier today in order to benefit our future selves.

He outlines three “time travel mistakes” we frequently make: missing our flight represents getting stuck in the present, poor trip planning represents thinking about the future but not deeply, and packing the wrong clothes represents unfairly projecting our present emotions onto our future selves.

We forget that things will change. We make these plans, and then somehow are surprised that yeah, things have changed. ~ Hal Hershfield, episode 369 Share on X

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(2:54) Welcome and speed round questions.

(7:14) Is our future self actually the same person?

(11:18) Do memories make us who we are?

(15:20) Common time travel mistakes.

(22:36) Why you should write a letter to your future self.

(27:51) What do you need to do today to make tomorrow better?

(34:49) Does looking back on your regrets help you look forward.

(38:42) Hal’s future musical tastes.

(44:10) Grooving Session with Kurt and Tim on our future selves.


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Episode 277, No Regrets? Really? Why Regrets Actually Bring Us Hope | Daniel H. Pink

Episode 147, Gary Latham, PhD: Goal Setting, Prompts, Priming, and Skepticism

AIRDATE: August 13, 2023 EPISODE 369

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Want To Make Tomorrow Better? Get To Know Your Future Self Today | Hal Hershfield