Equal and mutual respect
Creating Now-Next integrity (NNI), creating peace and cooperation between Now and Next, must start with a new attitude: Next showing respect and consideration for what Now wants. What does Now want? What is his or her job? Now's job is just to be happy with now. How important is that! This new attitude of respect takes practice and repetition.
Next's habit of disrespect
The conflicts, the battles between Next and Now, that have flared up as a daily part of our life, are supported by one fundamental attitude: Next habitually shows disrespect and lack of consideration for Now’s concerns.
Next is falling down on his or her job by not taking the long view (being the adult)
Imagine you had a housemate (your Now) that you often make plans for without checking with them first (for example, you plan to spend an hour the next day doing some bookwork you needed to catch up on). Then, when the next day comes and it's time to do the bookwork, Now doesn't cooperate with you (your Next). Then you get disappointed and blame your Now (you criticize yourself and feel guilty).
This is the chronic vicious cycle of Next showing disrespect to Now, resulting in a life where you don't feel good about yourself, you're limited in what you can get done, and you feel a lot of resignation.
"I'm the good guy...you should follow me."
Next considers himself to be the good guy, struggling valiantly to take care of the future. Next tries to keep a tight rein on Now’s indulgences, using all of his self-discipline and criticism, trying to get Now to toe the line.
Next exhorts Now again and again (like a critical parent):
“Don’t be lazy.”
“Lose some weight.”
“Keep your promises.”
“Plan your day and follow your plan.”
“Save for the future.”
“Get to bed on time and don’t sleep late.”
“Don’t do drugs.”
“Go for your dream.”
“Get to the gym.”
“Don’t waste your time.”
“You need to do more.”
“You’re not doing enough.”
“You’re behind on things.”
Next’s nagging is endless, always trying to keep Now in check.
"That's just life; it's hard."
This attitude is immortalized in Robert Frost’s poem that concludes with,
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
New questions that show respect for Now
To create NNI we must learn to ask a new question whenever a conflict (or potential conflict) arises between Now and Next:
“How can my Next and my Now both be happy in this circumstance (or projected circumstance)?”
Or, more specifically, Next can ask (together with Now):
"How could my Now enjoy the process of doing what my Next thinks is needed for the future?"
Installing this new habit
But this begs the question: how can we become aware that we are having a conflict (or could have a conflict) that needs to be addressed with these questions? Our habit is to take such conflicts for granted, to accept, to tolerate, and even to encourage the battles between Now and Next.
Along with these questions, maybe even preceding this question, is a more fundamental question,
“How can Next show respect and consideration for Now’s concerns?”
Use the mental habit installation technique
Install this new mental habit of asking these questions using Kickstarting a mental habit.