The purpose of the note to (future) self activity is for individuals to set a goal (or small number of goals) for themselves, as well as a post-workshop reminder to pursue this goal. The objective is to help each participant commit to their own objectives and to apply what they learned from the workshop to their own context, as opposed to focusing on group goals.


Each participant crafts a message to their future self, and sets up a way (e.g. an automated reminder, a diary entry or scheduled email to self) to help them return to this message at a later stage.




Any number of participants


Minimum 10 minutes | F2F & Online


  • The relevant tool the facilitator will demonstrate to participants as a means to set up a reminder. (See: Step 3, below). 
  •  If necessary, a projected/shared screen for the facilitator to show participants how to set up such a reminder, using (for example) an automated tool / pre-scheduled email settings.




Step 1

The facilitator explains the purpose of the activity, i.e. for each participant to set a personal goal that is achievable in the short-to-medium term. The participants are reminded that a ‘note to future self’ will help them commit to next steps, and therefore help implement some form of desirable change.

Step 2

The participants are given a few minutes to reflect upon what they have learned during the workshop, and (based on these lessons) how they want to apply these lessons in their own context. They should identify 1-3 goals, accordingly. Each goal should be feasible (possible to achieve within a short-to-medium timeframe), specific (clearly stated) and measurable (associated with an observable outcome).

Step 3

The facilitator shows participants how to set up a post-workshop reminder to prompt them to keep on pursuing these goals. The reminder should be set 1-2 weeks after the workshop, but another reminder can be set for a later stage (e.g. 1-2 months after the workshop) for medium-to-longer term goals. The reminder can take the form of a hard copy / online diary entry, a scheduled email (set to be sent to themselves at a later date) or an automated message using a ’letter to self’ tool. Participants may also choose to set up a post-it note in their study or on their desk.

Step 4

The participants are given a few minutes to set up the ‘note’ to remind their future selves of their goals.

  • Participants should know at the onset that they will not be expected to share their goals with the rest of the group, (although the facilitator can allow volunteers to share examples if they so choose). By setting the exercise up as a personal, self-reflective activity, the participants will be more likely to identify goals that are fitting for their individual context and needs.
  • The facilitator can create a template for this exercise, such as a hard copy card / online form, for participants to fill in. This can help provide some structure for writing the goals. The facilitator can also collect the cards / online form feedback and mail it back to the participants at a specified date.

The above guidelines were developed by the database contributors and draws on their own practical experience of workshop facilitation, as well as the following resources retrieved on 12 August 2022:


An alternative version is a note to self exercise that starts at the workshop opening, and ends at the closing: At the start of the workshop, participants can write down a note which they will re-visit at the end of the workshop. This note can articulate their key questions about the workshop topic, and what they hope to learn. When they return to this note during the workshop closing, it can help them reflect upon their new knowledge/skills, and prompt them to share any final (potentially unaddressed) questions with the facilitator/group.

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