Using Video to Motivate Yourself with Your Why

When I was in high school, I loved the movie Total Recall. It was full of action and funny dialogue, and then some more action on top of that. I particularly was intrigued by the various points in time where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character seemed to be leaving video messages to himself. I am here today to tell you that you can be your biggest cheerleader using something as simple as your smartphone. I must give credit to my coach and mentor, Jimmy Hays Nelson for introducing me to this technique.

It happens too often — you get the idea that you want to embark on a project. It could be a personal ambition of yours — you are going to get fit! You are going to learn how to code in PHP! You are going to read a certain lengthy book series that has interested you for a long time! Regardless of what the project, it is extremely important to you that you do it. You might even make a tentative plan to make the project happen. You are so extremely excited about getting this project off the ground, and you start making it happen.

Then life happens. You get hit by distractions, and you lose focus. Suddenly, that initial burst of excitement isn’t there anymore, and you don’t quite feel like making progress on the project. “I’ll work on it tomorrow,” you say, which turns into the next day — which turns into a project that is sitting in a shoebox (literal or otherwise) in a closet, waiting to be discovered years down the line.

When you have that initial burst of excitement and drive — that is the perfect time to make a video of yourself. In the video, you are going to be addressing you — the future you that has lost the excitement. During the video, which doesn’t have to be long, you tell yourself why you are doing the project, and what it is about the project that is so important to you. You tell you why you must complete the project.

When you find yourself in that comfortable place where you just don’t feel like getting up early and making progress on the project, find a few minutes and look at the video. Remember that person? That was you, when you were so excited about the project. Now that you is going to motivate complacent you back into getting some work done on the project. I have used this technique in the last couple of months to push myself quite hard — you can be one of the most unforgiving people when it comes to pushing you!

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