Your Present Self—who you are today—is the culmination of every action you have ever taken. Brick by brick, your Past Self has built your life through the actions you’ve taken. Every habit, every memory, and every personality quirk is because of these past actions. Some of it is intentional; some of it is quite accidental.

Your Future Self is the person you are going to become. You have ideas for your Future Self. You have ambitions. You set goals. You dream about the kind of life your Future Self is going to live.

You make plans, but do you follow through on those plans?

Every idea we have for our future is just that—an idea, nothing more. Sooner or later, we need to act on that idea. If we do, that idea will become a part of who we are—a memory.

If we never act on an idea, it will hang around for a while. We tell ourselves we’re still going to do it one day, just not today. Next year will be better. We’ll have our act together next year and we’ll have more time for it then.

We aren’t the woman who started a gourmet jam business in her kitchen. We’re the woman who always talks about starting a gourmet jam business.

We aren’t the guy who worked off the flab and got back into the shape he was in college, when he was playing basketball five nights a week. We’re the guy who always talks about eating better and exercising more, then eats pizza and watches March Madness on the couch.

Eventually, the opportunity passes. Ideas have shelf lives. Do you want to spend your life dreaming, or do you want to live the dream?

If we act on it, it will become a part of who we are—a memory. If we don’t act on it, it will become a regret.

“I’ll get to it tomorrow” or “next year” isn’t an action. You can create a plan (creating a plan is an action) that will set your Future Self up for success tomorrow or next year, but the plan is still an idea until you act on it.

Eventually, your Present Self has to take action.

Today.

Today is when we make the transformation.

Today is where you make the choice: will your ideas for the future become a memory or a regret?

The choice is yours.

Carpe diem.

Question: What is one idea you can act on today so it doesn’t become a regret? Share your thoughts in the comments, on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.