We all experience a psychological phenomenon called temporal discounting.
It goes something like this.
The further out a reward is in the future, the less we're going to care about it. Building an online course. Starting a business. Becoming proficient at the piano. Saving for retirement.
That kind of thing.
It also applies to "negative rewards" - consequences that lie in the future if we don't take sustained action. Our health when we get older. How we're going to survive financially. And so on.
Meanwhile, the more instant a reward is, the more we're going to care about that. But the thing is, that reward can be ridiculously small.
This is why most of us would naturally rather through Facebook now rather than do the work needed to start a new project that will have a big financial payoff in several months.
The cure is in two parts.
First, is self-awareness. Knowing what temporal discount is.
And second is taking action against this natural tendency. Thinking and even writing about your future self on the regular.
Otherwise, you'll miss out on the big rewards of the future while you can't remember the little rewards you traded them for.