Affective forecasting refers to people’s general inability to predict or envision how they will feel about something in the future (Wilson & Gilbert, 2003, pp. 345–347). It is the reason that many people do not prioritize saving for retirement, writing a will, or exercising. It is also the reason that many people struggle so powerfully with procrastination. When faced with a difficult task, we know that we do not want to do it today—but we imagine (incorrectly) that we will feel better about it tomorrow. On a related note, affective forecasting also impacts our ability to correctly predict how long a task will take to complete—particularly if it is a task or project that we’ve never undertaken before.


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