Imagine for a minute that you had a mirror through which you could communicate with an earlier version of yourself. What would you tell your younger self? Did they understand how their decisions would impact their life, which is now your life? Would you tell them how a little effort at their moment in time would go a long way to improving your situation in the present?
Now imagine this mirror can only allow you to speak to the person you were last night. Would you say, “Go to bed now, not at 2am, I’m too tired to work,” or “Just spend 20 minutes planning out your day tomorrow because it’s 11am and I still haven’t managed to get anything done!” Perhaps you’d say, “You really don’t need to see another episode of Game of Thrones.”
We are not the same person at different points in time. At our most constructive, we regret the lack of productivity, self-control and motivation we have at other times. How can our optimal self influence the behavior of our more child-like self to get more done in the time we have?