Think about where you will be in ten years. Depending on your age, you might have a few extra wrinkles and grey hairs in addition to hoping for changes in your financial situation. But does the imagined version of yourself feel essentially very similar to the one you are right now? Or do they feel odd to you?

Much psychological research from the last 10 years shows that people’s responses frequently vary greatly and disclose surprising information about their behavioral tendencies. Some people have a vivid image of their future selves that resembles their present selves in many ways. These people are more likely to manage their finances responsibly and treat others with more morality because they care about making life easier in the future. Others find it difficult to see themselves as extensions of who they are now, and they frequently behave in much less responsible ways. They seem to view their future selves as distinct individuals who have little to do with their current selves, which makes them much less concerned about the long-term effects of their decisions. You might as well consider your future self a relationship that needs to be fostered and grown.

We should give our future selves greater thought because doing so has enormous implications for our health, pleasure, and financial stability. You are more likely to take care of your body to ensure that it enjoys greater health in the years to come if you have a strong sense of whom you want to be in the future.