Actually, animals are able to imagine the future, at least to the extent that they use prospective control of their movements. And there are fantastic arguments for animals being self-aware, considering self-related processing as a feature of at least mammals if not many more animals (Northoff and Panksepp, The trans-species concept of self and the subcortical-cortical midline system, 2008).
A core self may be based on an integrating neuronal mechanism that accounts for self-related processing, integrating exteroception (perception of the external world via sight, sound, etc.) and interoception (perception of internal states of being) with emotional processing all in relation to a goal. It is coordinated action in the world, colored by emotional evaluation of anticipated and realized results. In fact, Solms and Panksepp (The "Id" Knows More than the "Ego" Admits: Neuropsychoanalytic and Primal Consciousness Perspectives on the Interface Between Affective and Cognitive Neuroscience, 2012) make a convincing case for affective consciousness, that attributing a positive or negative value to an experience and the arising movements/behaviors might be the whole point of consciousness.
Similar to other social animals, humans move in ways that reveal their attention, intentions, and feelings (Colwyn Trevarthen – pretty much everything he's written), but there are a few things that are different. Humans have an internal mechanism for time-keeping which Trevarthen describes as the Intrinsic Motive Pulse, or the natural flow of energy cycles in our brain that shape our movements and create a sense of time, allowing us to create memories and anticipate the future in unique ways. Rhythms between infants and adults are the same, so that we are able to communicate non-verbally, sharing pulse and quality to create narratives in a "communicative musicality" (Malloch, Mother and infants and communicative musicality, 1999).
Anyway, we begin to make cooperative meaning with one another from the moment we are born; that leads eventually to the transmission of culture, even across generations (Trevarthen, What is it like to be a person who knows nothing?). We make symbols and rituals that fill our world with meaning. Language is a product of the ways in which people are able to create consensual domains (Maturana, Biology of Language, 1978), the root of which is in sympathetic movement (Delafield-Butt and Trevarthen, Theories of the development of human communication, year?).