I won’t rehash all of it (unless you give me the slightest indication you are interested, of course), but I do want to follow up on a post from a few months ago about motivating your future self. In that post I introduced you to a technique my running partner Betsy Moore uses and how she encouraged me to try it. This is the result of that experiment.
First, a recap.
About 3 months before the big race, BetsyM gave me a blank card with the number “13.1” on the front. She asked me to write a letter to my future self about what this accomplishment would mean to me and how my life would be changed. I was to give her this note in a sealed envelope, and she would mail it to me after the race was over.
I held on to the note for a few days as I imagined finishing my training, crossing the finish line, and celebrating with the people I love. And then I wrote a note to myself, sealed it up, and gave it to BetsyM. (Funny side note, I had to leave the address blank because I wasn’t sure where we’d be living by the time the race rolled around.)
Over the remaining weeks I forgot about the note as we cleared out the remainder of our possessions and sold our home. Those were very busy days, and I could barely concentrate on my present self, much less my future self.
After the race, I was euphoric. It was so hard and took every ounce of willpower and support I could muster, and crossing that finish line was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.
When we got home I promptly took a nap, and when I woke up I had a card in the mail. Yep, it was the card to myself, and I couldn’t wait to open it to see what I had written.
You did it! I can’t believe how far you’ve come in the last 8 months.This is a huge accomplishment because you finally started something as a beginner and finished it like a pro, even with injuries and setbacks along the way.
You now know what it means to be persistent.
What will you do now with this new skill?
I’m so proud of you!
Wow. Past Betsy is kind of a killjoy, isn’t she? First she congratulates me, and then she asks me to start about doing something else? What’s with that chick?
In all seriousness, the card reminded me of the very start of this journey, all the successes and setbacks along the way, and how I pushed through to finish. It really is a metaphor for life – you get out of it what you put into it – and knowing that I can follow something through from absolute beginner to finisher is a game-changer for me.
So, what is next for me?
- You know where this is going: I’ve signed up for another half-marathon on 9/26/10 before we leave
- I’ve taken on a pretty big project hosting the Seattle Meet, Plan, Go! event, even though I have no event planning experience.
- I’ve taken a new approach to writing and marketing the blog using the same training techniques I did for running. As my training builds, the blog gets more popular.
How can you use this technique in your own life?
Completing a goal is a huge deal, and you can make the mileage of that accomplishment last longer by reminding yourself what you wanted to gain in the first place.
- Write yourself an email and set it to send at a later date (you can do this in Outlook or try a service like LetterMeLater if your email program does not have a delay send feature)
- Get a friend to mail your card to you on a certain date
- You can even hide your note and remind yourself at a future date on your calendar when and where to find it
Just remember to write it. And then read it, absorb the lessons, and apply them to your next big goal. That’s the cool thing about crossing the finish line; it inspires you look for your next race.
PS: I realize this post is Betsy Overload – BetsyM, Betsy, Future Betsy & Past Betsy. Now you know what it is like to live in my head.