They can’t believe who they fell for.
They can’t believe how long they stuck with dead-end relationships.
But I have one friend who never expresses those kinds of regrets.
Jennifer has always been focused. She knew what she wanted to do back in high school. She’s built the life of her dreams brick by brick. Sometimes she’s been single, sometimes she’s been in relationships, but she’s always been exactly where she needed to be.
Jennifer has a motto that I’d like to share with you.
It’s a unique way of filtering bad relationships from good ones.
Jennifer tells me it hasn’t let her down yet. I’ve even found myself using it in everyday life. It’s one simple question:
“Feel good or future good?”
Will this choice bring me pleasure in the moment, or will it bring me the future I want?
Live for Today, or Live for Tomorrow?
These days, there’s a lot of hype around doing what makes you feel good.
Splurge on that cashmere sweater—you deserve it. Order that rich dessert—you deserve it. Relax instead of doing chores—you deserve it.
With indulgences everywhere you look, you can feel as if you’re depriving yourself by being disciplined. Budgeting, eating healthfully, and working hard are for suckers. Live a little! You only live once.
As attractive as that sounds, feeling good today can lead to feeling really badly tomorrow. Or even an hour later—for some reason my last Thanksgiving feast comes to mind.
That’s where Jennifer’s motto comes in.
(It even helps you spot the man of your dreams. More on that later.)
Choose Long-Term Happiness
When you’re deciding what to do, ask yourself: Feel good or future good?
Is this going to give me pleasure in the moment, or is this a step on the way to the amazing future I’ve always dreamed of?
For example, a friend has invited you to a party. You want to stay home in your pajamas and watch Netflix. Feel good or future good?
Staying home might feel good, but getting out and meeting people helps advance your goal of finding someone special.
Here’s another example. You’ve met a couple of different men online. Bachelor #1 is highly attractive, but your gut is telling you he’s a player. Bachelor #2 is soft-spoken and earnest, but he just doesn’t have the same charisma. Who do you decide to see again? Feel good or future good?
Bachelor #1 makes you feel great. He’ll sweep you off your feet. He’ll probably drop you in a few weeks, but at least you’ll have had a memorable experience while it lasted.
Bachelor #2 is the sort of man who would make a good husband. You get the sense that you could rely on him. So why not see him a few more times? Find out if you could envision a future together.
Finding your future husband will make you happier in the long run than having a fun fling.
Distinguish Mr. Wrong from Mr. Right
Some guys know how to wrap women around their little finger.
He makes you feel so good that all other thoughts drain from your mind. No matter how badly you were feeling before, being with him makes you feel amazing. His attention is addictive.
Relationships are great self-esteem boosters.
But getting into a relationship solely on the basis of how a man makes you feel about yourself can be problematic.
If your goal is to get married someday, you want to be with a man who’s a good partner. He shoulders his fair share of the responsibilities, you can count on him, and he wants the same kind of future as you.
None of those traits are very exciting. They’re easy to overlook.
That’s why Jennifer’s question is so important.
Feel good or future good?
Sometimes, you may choose to feel good. There’s nothing wrong with that. We can’t always move towards our goals with single-minded precision.
But if what you want is a husband to raise a family with—and you’d rather meet him sooner rather than later—then choose your future good.
Don’t get fooled by guys who flatter you but don’t fit into your ideal future.
I’ll let you in on one last secret.
Jennifer tells me she knows exactly how to spot the man of her dreams.
She won’t have to choose between feeling good and her future good.
The man of her dreams will be both.