Of course, all of us struggle at some point with motivation. We’re only human, after all. Sticking at it as you work toward your goal can be daunting, and setbacks can have us questioning our abilities. On top of that, it can take serious mental, emotional and physical energy to get where you’re going. Burnout is real.
There are whole businesses — whole industries — built around the solving of this problem: how to maintain motivation to reach our goals. But you’re here at FutureMe, so you already have the key!
Let’s see how writing letters to your future self can help you set a goal and stay motivated through the good times (and less-than-good times) to achieve it.
Set your goal
First up, let's look at your goal. Whether it’s learning to knit, keeping a houseplant alive, or baking up a croquembouche from scratch, try to ensure your goal has a definite end-point.
"I want to learn to knit” is okay, but “I want to be able to knit a scarf” is better. “I want to be able to knit a scarf three months from now” is best, because it gives you a timeframe to work with.
Next, find out what it will take for you to achieve that goal. Whatever your goal is, you need to nail down some steps or “mini-goals” that you'll need to achieve on your way to that big overall goal.
If you actually want to knit a scarf, we’ve done the research for you: the article we linked to tells you what you’ll need to be able to do to knit a scarf. Those are: casting on, knitting stiches, and casting off. But to actually knit a scarf you want to wear, you might need to know how to choose yarn and needles, too, and weave in the loose ends. And practice!
Now what if we set out those steps as a process?
Learn to cast on
Learn to knit stitches
Learn to cast off
Practice those first three steps
Learn to choose yarn and needles
Practice choosing yarn and needles
Choose yarn and needles
Cast on The Scarf
Knit The Scarf
Cast off and finish The Scarf.
We have 10 steps here, so what if we broke this process over 10 weeks? Some of these steps might take longer, and some less time, so we might want to adjust some of the timeframes for each one.
All of which brings us to your daily calendar. Goals take time. Not just elapsed time: they require us to dedicate regular hours to doing what’s needed to achieve them. Once you know what steps are involved in meeting your goal, bring up your calendar and work out exactly when each week (or day, or month) you’re going to focus on achieving that goal.
Once you’ve done that, you're ready to start writing your FutureMe letters.
That’s right: letters, plural! Oh sure, you can set a goal by saying “This time next year I want to be able to run a mile”, and write a FutureMe letter for that date to ask yourself if you can do it.
But that’s not going to help you get there.
What is? Periodic check-ins with your future self to keep you motivated, on track and focused.
So, look at the steps you need to take to reach your goal and pull out the key milestones you expect to pass along the way. Check the date you’ve scheduled those for in your calendar and write a FutureMe letter for each one.
Get writing, stay motivated!
What should you put in your letters? You’ll want to write as if you’ve met the milestone, of course! Congratulations will be in order, but so will support and encouragement for the next stage of your journey.
Here are a few ideas to consider:
Call out what you’ve achieved and where you’re at in the bigger plan to achieve your goal.
Congratulate yourself on the work you’ve done so far and for meeting this particular milestone.
Focus on one of your personal qualities that you expect to have relied on to get here.
Give appreciation and thanks for anyone who you'll rely on for help to achieve this milestone.
Give yourself a little pep talk, so you’re ready to take on the next step.
Mention the overall goal again, and what it means to you.
Wish yourself luck, send good vibes, whatever you need to start the next phase!
Once you’ve written and scheduled your letters to your future self, it’s time to get started on that life-changing goal. As you work along, you’ll know you have a letter coming, and believe us: it will help you to stay motivated!
But even if you don’t meet the timeframe you set for a milestone, receiving each letter will help you to keep the motivation flowing and the work going. It might even make it easier to make up any lost time so that you can get back on track and meet your next milestone. Go you!