When you hear the word “pleasure,” what comes to mind? Is it the instant gratification, dopamine inducing, high intensity but short-lived kind? Or the slow and steady build of long-lasting pleasure, the kind that feels sustainable and gratitude-inducing?

The societal messages most of us are bombarded with push us towards the former. The sugar rush, the quick hit of a scratch being itched, the ‘buy now think later’ kind of ethos that mass marketing hits us with all day long. What if we flip the script, though, and consider our long-term pleasure instead? Many of us would likely eat and/or drink less, watch less Netflix, buy less impulsively, and generally slow our roll.

Envisioning your ideal future self is a great way to decipher if you’re seeking pleasure at the expense of your goals or in advance of them. When you think of the person you’d like to be in three to five years, consider the kinds of things she spends her time on, or his money on, or the kinds of relationships/friendships they prioritize. And then let this be a decision-making filter for you now.