As we us embark on the new decade, most of us have undoubtedly set some resolutions. Lose weight. Read more. Save for retirement. Quit smoking. Volunteer in the community. Yet the vast majority of resolutions are anything but resolute. According to U.S. News & World Report, over 80% of resolutions fail (most of which within the first 30 days).
There are many reasons for our dismal results. We set targets that are unattainable, we get discouraged after a single slip and then quit altogether, or we lose track of the goal as daily life creeps into the picture. Yet researchers site the biggest pitfall as the lack of accountability.
The traditional way to establish accountability is through another person. If you agree to meet your buddy at the gym at 6:00am, you're much more likely to show up than if no one were waiting. But some of our deepest life goals are too personal to share with others. Wouldn't it be great if we could hold ourselves accountable?
I recently learned of a free website called FutureMe.Org. It allows you to send an email to your future self. Simply type your future self a note and then select the delivery date. Maybe you want to cheer your one-week-from-now self on for avoiding your favorite cookies. Why not schedule an email of your New Year’s resolutions to be delivered at the beginning of each month? Or it could be a note to your 20-year-from-now self, reminding you to focus on your calling.
Besides the nostalgic fun of receiving a note from your past self, this simple mechanism can help boost your accountability, and performance. Simply knowing that the note is scheduled to arrive, you'll be less likely to let yourself down. In other words, the easy act of sending a note to yourself can be just the accountability hack you need to stay on target.
Thinking about your way-into-the-future self may also help you prioritize what really matters. The indulgences of today are far less appealing thinking about how you'll be feeling the day you open up an email from your 30-years-ago self. You don't need a time machine to connect with your future self and shape how your life will unfold.
What message do you have for your one-month-from-now self? What about the five-year-from-now version? Whether you share thoughts on health, work, family, or politics, having a direct line of communication to the you-of-the-future can inspire positive results today.
As you embrace the new decade, let your future self guide both your important decisions and daily habits. The perspective of the future can help you make the best choices, here and now.
Your future you will be proud.