Living for Tomorrow vs Living for Today

How do you balance activities that enhance your future with ones that enrich your present? Try focusing on both to optimize your happiness and personal growth.

Written by Adam on 2017-12-22. Blog, Financial Independence, Mindfulness. Leave a comment. Find out how I make money.

With New Years around the corner, there are a lot of people making resolutions (myself included). While I’ll likely be building on my keystone habits, I’ve been trying to balance future goals and present happiness in my planning. The idea is, I want some of my goals and resolutions to have an impact now on my happiness, and some based on improving happiness down the line.

travel on a boat

This reminded me of a topic from /r/financialindependence about Living in today while planning for tomorrow. Living for tomorrow involves leaning on your self-control and investing time in yourself. Living for today focuses on improvements that you’ll see right away.

You could think of living for tomorrow as making a deposit in the bank of I, while living for today is making a withdrawal. Too much of either and you’ll likely feel out of balance.

Living for Tomorrow

The hope is that living for tomorrow activities are still enjoyable and satisfying. Here are a few examples of living for tomorrow.

  • Eat healthy today
  • Exercise
  • Save money
  • Learn a foreign language
  • Invest your money
  • Work on a business
  • Get out of debt
  • Learn how to code
  • Get more organized
  • Plant a garden
  • Learn to cook a new dish
  • Go to your doctor, dentist, health expert
  • Start writing book
  • Network in your industry
  • Learn an instrument
  • Start a blog or website
  • Quit smoking, drinking or another other unhealthy activity
  • Go back to school
  • Find a better job

Starting any of these topics involves being a beginner at something. Being a beginner is tough, but if you can find a way to love doing these activities, it could enable you to make lasting progress that can impact the rest of your life.

Living for today

Living for today is easier, but it’s not automatic. These actions are still investments in making yourself happier, not to be confused with taking a break and just watching TV. These are activities that recharge and motivate – the ones you look forward to.

  • Take a vacation
  • Enjoy nature
  • Enjoy your hobbies
  • Explore your city
  • Play more
  • Meditate
  • Enjoy a date night
  • Get more sleep
  • Spend time with friends
  • Be romantic
  • Let go of grudges and blame
  • Stop comparing yourself to others
  • Play a sport
  • Go to a concert, show or play
  • Visit a museum

None of these things in living for today are about consumption. You may enjoy browsing Instagram, but you likely don’t live for it (if you do, please let me know – I’m curious).

As someone who watches entirely too much TV, Youtube and Netflix, none of those are in either of these categories. That’s not to say they’re bad, but coming home and craving catching up on TV feels oddly similar to coming home and craving a beer. The feeling in my chest when I think about all of the above leans more towards a hopeful excitement filled with anticipation. There are a few TV shows that may feel like that, but I’m hoping to be more conscience on those that don’t and stop watching them.

When creating my own goals for the new year, I’m trying to mix and match in order to include some from both groups in my resolutions.

How are you living for tomorrow? How are you living for today?


Hi, I'm Adam! I help millennials invest to reach financial independence sooner than they ever thought possible. Want to see what you could do to reach FI sooner? You're in the right place!

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