Now = child; Next = parent (adult)
One way to distinguish "Now" is that it is that part of each one of us whose interest and job is to ensure that we're happy now (and in the near now), as well as not suffering or in pain. "Next" is that part of each one of us whose interest and job is to ensure that we're happy in our future (and the near future), as well as not suffering or in pain in our future.
Just as validly, we could distinguish our "Now" as the child (say, about two-three years old) that's still very much alive inside of each one of us (even though we may not be explicitly aware of him or her). And our "Next" as the parent or adult that's also a vital part of us (that we commonly think of as who we are).
Creating symbiosis between Now and Next gives each much more
When Next doesn't show respect to Now, taking into consideration what Now wants and needs, both now and in the future, then Next will end up getting much less than Next would otherwise get. When Now is not finding ways to work with Next, then Now will end up getting much less than Now would otherwise get.
"Next is a pain in the ass"
From Now's point of view, Next can seem like a pain in the ass. "We should do this. We should do that. Why are you so lazy?! We should be exercising! We should be eating better! We should be making something more of our life!"
Now fantasizes, "If only Next would shut up and stop trying to control me, I would feel free to do whatever I want and that would be great."
"Now is an irresponsible, spoiled child"
From Next's point of view, Now can seem like an irresponsible, spoiled, indulgent child. "I don't feel like it. Playing with my mobile phone is more interesting than doing what you want me to do. Let me just sleep a few more minutes. I know you think I should do this or do that, but I don't want to. I just want to feel free. I don't care how much you blame me, I'm going to do what I feel like doing."
Next can think, "If Now would just do what I know he or she should do, life would be great and we could be very successful and have a great future."
Life goes better together
Two major reasons make life much better with Now-Next alignment and integrity.
First, Now-Next alignment will give us happiness now. In a given circumstance (for example, whether to exercise or not right now), if Next gets his way at the expense of what Now wants, then Now is tolerating and we're unhappy. Conversely, if Now gets his way at the expense of what Next wants, then we're likely to feel guilty (Next blaming Now) and not think the best of ourselves.
Secondly, with Now-Next cooperation we're also likely to have a better future (and feel happier in the future). If Next dominates one's life, it becomes problematic to be consistent in one's actions long-term...because Now is not on board. Not only is Next likely to over promise, not taking care of himself or herself short-range, it's going to be quite difficult to persist and be patient. With Now being satisfied in the process and the dance of the journey, it's a piece of cake for Next to avoid procrastination, keep agreements, and stay with something for the long haul. On the other hand, to the extent that Now is indulgent at the expense of what Next needs, then future problems quickly arise: being out-of-shape, having low energy, getting sick, fucked-up plans and promises, and creating bad relationships.
Now-Next integrity allows the full job to get done
Happiness (see full definition/description) is life's purpose for each and every one of us. To continuously fulfill on this purpose, we need the alignment and cooperation of both Now and Next. They both have the same intention (creating and maintaining happiness): they're just responsible (at any given time) for two different time spans. Now's job is to be happy now (and the near now). Next's job is for us to be happy in our future.
A new fundamental life attitude and habit
We have all learned from our families, organizations and cultures to view Now and Next as enemies, with Now most often the "bad guy" and Next the "good guy." Our lack of Now-Next integrity accounts for at least 80% of suffering and problems (the other 20% is from our lack of Oneself-Others integrity).
Ending the Now-Next wars
Let's end the Now-Next wars. Let's establish a new attitude and a new set of habits that create and maintain Now and Next as mutually supportive. This new integrity generates a life of ease, happiness, fulfillment, accomplishment, and awesome relationships with others. The NNI toolkit is your go-to resource for doing this.
PS. for those of us who are more motivated to move away from the bad things (instead of moving towards the good things), this integrity will foster a life that avoids suffering, life feeling hard, frustration, ennui, and messed-up relationships.