Have you ever written a note to your future self? I do it all the time in the form of to-do emails from my phone:
“Don’t forget to take the chicken out of the freezer tonight. By the way, your body loves it that you are eating healthier.”
“Call D about plans for the weekend. Aren’t you lucky to have such fun friends?”
“Take donation to Good Will on Thursday. Doesn’t it feel good to get rid of things you don’t need?”
A nice little comment to my future self reminds me why I need to do a particular task and keeps me from feeling controlled by my schedule. Go ahead and try it – you’ll be surprised at how much fun it is to get a nice note from yourself.
Letting your friends help
As most of you know, I’m in training for the Seattle Rock-N-Roll Half Marathon this June. As a previous couch potato, this has been a big lifestyle change for me. I’m 13 weeks away from the race and on track with my training schedule to complete 13.1 miles.
There are days that I enjoy running and it doesn’t hurt, and there are days when I have to push through with everything just to get the bare minimum done. I’m still not a natural runner, but I’ve made some huge strides from day one when it nearly knocked me out to run eight 60-second intervals with 2 minutes of walking in between.
This is why it was so meaningful to me last week when my running buddy, Betsy Moore, gave me a blank card before our 7 a.m. run. Betsy M is a seasoned runner and one of my closest friends. In fact, I was there when she crossed the finish line at the half-marathon last summer.
She told me that someone had given her a blank card last year in the middle of her training and told her to write down what she wanted to accomplish with this race and what it would mean to her. She wrote it down and gave it to her friend. After the race was over, her friend put the card in the mail to her.
Imagine successfully completing your big goal and then getting card from your past self – the one you vividly remember struggling along the way – talking about how much you wanted to accomplish the very thing you just did.
What a brilliant idea.
Not only am I jazzed to get my card back after I finish the race, but I’m even more jazzed to continue my training now. The first run after she gave me the card was one of the easiest and best ones I’ve had since I started training. I don’t think it is a coincidence.
How to motivate your future self
You can try these tactics yourself.
- Need to remind yourself of something? Send an email or voicemail and then say something nice to yourself about why you need to do it.
- Built a more motivational personality by sharing the same email/voicemail strategy when asking other people to do things for you. Especially with our families we sometimes skip the fluff and go straight to “do this” or “do that.”
- Write yourself a note or email about a project or goal you are working on now. Emails can be scheduled to go out at specific times, and you can ask a friend to mail your card on a certain date.
What other habits do you have for motivating yourself?