Last week, I talked about why you don’t need another productivity app. I explained why productivity apps don’t work for most people. Today I want to discuss what you should do instead. How you can start showing up for yourself, for your goals and for your dreams. Learn how to create a schedule and follow it.
The Main Relationship that Affects Your Productivity
The reason why you had failed in showing up for your goals might be the broken relationship between the past, present and future you. You need to fix this relationship.
How this relationship looks like for most people:
- They hate their past self.
- They despise their present self.
- They abuse their future self.
How a healthy and productive relationship should look like:
- being grateful to the past you,
- respecting the present you,
- caring for and loving the future you.
The reason why I show up for my schedule is that I love and care of the future me. It is like you would care for your child. Yes, let’s think about it. How would you plan the next day, if you were planning it for your child?
- You would pack lunch for them.
- You would plan enough sleep for them.
- You would make sure they take breaks during their study sessions.
- You would make sure they sleep. They eat. They play.
Why don’t we use the same approach toward ourselves and our schedules?
I don’t procrastinate because I want to make sure the future version of me doesn’t have to do the double amount of work. Otherwise, it is abuse. You wouldn’t do that to your child, would you?
Respecting the Present You helps a lot. When you choose to believe “I am the woman who shows up for herself” or “I am the man who shows up for his goals”, your brain is given a command to prove these statements. Even if you don’t have a lot of historical data proving this point. Who cares? You are not writing a peer-reviewed article that needs proven data sources.
If you keep believing the same beliefs, you will produce the same results. In order to create something, you’ve never created before you have to start believing new things about yourself.
At first, your brain will be skeptical. It will not want to believe the new thoughts. But insist on thinking a new way anyway. You’ll be surprised how quickly it will work! Your brain hates cognitive dissonance. It can’t have two opposing beliefs. Eventually, your brain will give up and start proving your new belief true.
The popular advice given out there is based on hating yourself. The hustle culture. Willpower. White knuckling. No pain, no gain. You get the idea. It doesn’t work long-term. You can’t hate your way to success.
The moment I decided to love my future self how I would love some I deeply cared about, everything changed.
I could finally plan my days from a place of love and respect. I could finally stick to my schedule. I could finally gain my own trust.
How do you create a schedule?
I want you to schedule something that you will do every single day next week. I want this task to be just about you. Not about your business, not about your family, not about your friends. I want it to be something that you would do exclusively for yourself. And I want this to come from a place of love, not hate.
- “I will go for a walk every night after dinner because my body deserves fresh air and some light movement after a day spent working at a desk.”
- This comes from the place of love.
- “I will go on a 20k run every night after dinner because I’m lazy and fat and I have to do something about it.”
- This comes from the place of hate. See the difference?
We want to learn to love our future selves and to care about them. You should be sending your future self on a walk because you truly care about her. Because she deserves a break. Because she works hard and it’s nice to have a daily walk to unwind and relax.
When you create a schedule for your future self from the place of love, it is much easier for your future self to show up for everything you have planned.
If you plan from the place of hate, that’s when you need to rely on willpower, self-discipline and white-knuckling. Willpower and hustle might work for the first few attempts but these concepts do not work long-term. I repeat. Willpower and hustle don’t work in the long term.
You can’t hate yourself into success.
There is no happy ending to a miserable journey.
When you are planning from a place of hate, like working out insane hours because you think you are fat and you deserve it, it will not produce consistent results. You already know that, don’t you?
Plan one activity that you will do for yourself for the next week at the same time. And here is a test. Ask yourself – Would you plan this activity at this intensity and for this reason for your child?
What to do when you don’t feel like doing the scheduled activity?
First of all, you should expect that this will happen. If there is one thing I can guarantee, it is this – you will not want to go for a walk. Expect that. If you expect it, it will not surprise you.
Then you turn your attention to the inner dialogue. You observe all the excuses flying at you. That’s when you start thinking on purpose. You start selecting the thoughts that serve you.
Remember Your Past Self
You start remembering why you had scheduled your daily walk. Your past self thought that you deserved the break, fresh air and light movement. Your past self cared about you enough to put this on your calendar. Your past self is like your favourite grandma who made sure you had your lunch packed before going to school. Your past self loved and cared about you. How are you going to treat her? How would you treat your grandma who packed your lunches for school with such love and care? You would probably be grateful. So be grateful to the past version of you who had put this walk on your calendar. Say thank you and go for a walk.
Remember Your Future Self
If remembering your past self didn’t do the trick, try going to your future self. When we don’t show up for our plans, we are screwing our future selves over. Think about it. If you procrastinate, what you are saying to your future? It is probably “I don’t care about you. I don’t care how much you will need to work. I don’t care about your time off. I don’t care if you need to sleep. I don’t care about how much time you have or don’t have. In short, I hate you. Screw you.” Be honest with yourself. This is exactly what you mean when you procrastinate.
One of my favourite mantras is “I am not screwing my future self over.”
Check out this podcast episode with Brooke Castillo. At one point, I found it very helpful in navigating my own struggles showing for my schedule. She gives practical teams and examples from her own life.
The best advice I can give when it comes to creating and sticking to a schedule is to fix the relationship between the past, present, and future you.
If you are constantly procrastinating, you probably hate your past self, you don’t trust your present self and you don’t care about your future self. If you want to be able to show up for your schedule, you need to be grateful for your past self, respect your present self and care about your future self.
You really need to love your future self like you would love your firstborn child. I don’t care how selfish it might sound. I just know this is the only way you can consistently show up for your dreams and goals.
Let’s go over your homework one more time, so it is clear. Pick one activity for your future self from a place of love and care. It should be serving YOU, not somebody else. Imagine you are a loving mother. What would you schedule for your child?
When it’s time to do the scheduled activity, expect resistance. Talk to it. Say “Hello, dear, I’ve been waiting for you.” Then choose the thoughts that serve you. Be grateful to the past version of you who put this on your calendar. And don’t screw your future self over.
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