Part 2: The Gratitude Alarm


  • Create a Gratitude Alarm.

I love how you have to spin the wheel and scroll to set the time on the iPhone. It reminds me of spinning a globe as a kid, stopping it on a random location with my finger, and wanting to learn more about mysterious countries such as Djibouti or Andorra. It also reminds me of Bob Barker.

price is right

As a way to surprise myself with a kind reminder to be more aware of the present moment and to feel gratitude, I use what I call a Gratitude Alarm every day. It’s very simple to do.


  1. Before going to bed, spin the wheel and set the alarm for a random time during the day.
  2. Change the name of the alarm to a message to yourself to remind yourself to be grateful. Mine is titled “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you God.”

The key is to make sure that the alarm tone is the same as an incoming phone call.

During the next day my phone will ring randomly, and thinking it’s an urgent call, I will pull it out of my pocket to realize that it’s actually just a message from my past self to my present self.

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I’ve had many interesting experiences come from habitually using the alarm.


  1. The alarm will catch me at a time when I’m feeling good, and encourage me to stop for a moment to observe and appreciate my surroundings, thus making me feel even happier.
  2. The alarm will go off just as I find myself experiencing one of life’s “crazy coincidences,” making the encounter that much more magical (in my fantastical mind). Or
  3. The alarm will catch me when my mind is consumed with stress and serve as a reminder, almost as a joke from my past self, to just breathe and not take the current situation as seriously as I am at that moment.

I’ve had a lot of fun with this, and I hope you do too. The only bad experience I’ve had is when my phone rings while my hands are full with groceries. It’s annoying to have to set everything down to pick up the phone, only to be pranked by myself in a very Back to the Futuresque type of way.

Damn you Past Matt, you got me again!

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