Dear Future Me…
If you’ve never written a letter to yourself before, it’s time to start. Writing a letter to yourself might seem kind of dumb at first, but I’ve done it a handful of times and let me tell you I love myself even more for it. Every time I receive the letter, I ALWAYS forget what I wrote and I either laugh, cry, or both…
You don’t have to wait until December to reflect on your life, so think of a letter to your future self as a check-in, or a progress picture you take every few months at the gym. I wrote one in October of 2019 (still unopened) and have started another one because uh, hello.. look how much has changed from then! No time like the present to reflect on what’s happening in your life and too see if any of your goals have changed.
I did this exercise with my team at work a few months ago, and at first, I didn’t think any of them would do it. Slowly, but surely, interest was shown and letters were written! I recently returned a letter to one of my teammates who dated her open date in July 2020, and asked me to hold on to it for her until then. This was her message to me after I delivered her letter:
“Thank you for the pop-up. I really forgot all about my letter. It made me cry and it was exactly what I needed today because honestly I was feeling kind of defeated earlier. It was a reminder that I needed.”Coworker at Virgin Voyages
There were a few questions about how to start or what to write, and I gave a few suggestions that I am now sharing here. So, once you decide to get started but just don’t know how to begin, here are some tips to help guide you in writing the best letter you’ve ever written:
- Don’t think too hard. Friends, you are literally writing a note to YOURSELF, okay? Put the pen to paper, and don’t stop until you’ve got nothing left to say. You’d be surprised at what’s bottling up within you and what you feel the need to express. Just write what you are feeling at that given moment, and if that’s too hard, please continue reading. (For my tech savvy or sustainable friends… you can also schedule an email to yourself if you really wanted… just don’t look at your sent messages or delete them all together)!
- Start with the present. Tell your future self where you are currently- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially… whatever! Just summarize. Note your current fears, but also define your goals and hopes. Tell your future self what you should stop doing, and what you hope to start doing. Be realistic, but it’s also okay to write down and manifest the “impossible.” Even if your future self doesn’t meet that goal, if there’s even a hint of progress, you’re succeeding.
- Get real with yourself. Is there a habit you want to break? One you want to start? Be aggressive. You are the only one standing in your way so start holding yourself accountable. You’re not going to achieve anything by dreaming.
- Do. Not. Wish. okay you can, but… you know what can happen if all we do is wish for every little thing. It’s lazy. You might wish for something to happen, but wishing tends to lead to no action. A better example might be to use a phrase like, “For a happier, healthier life…” and you fill in the blank. A really great exercise (that I will be focusing more on in future posts), is to focus on what you want to be one year from now, what you want to do, and what you want to have. Be. Do. Have.
- Sign. Seal. Deliver. I always find the end of an entry really satisfying. You don’t have to speak about anything from your letter to anyone, just seal it in an envelope, date it (minimum 6 months) from when you want to open it, and then stash it somewhere you know you’ll be able to find it. Set a reminder in your phone for that date and lastly… just forget about the letter!
There is always TIME to self-reflect and I’m recommending at least letter writing because it’s an easy way to begin. Stay tuned for different ways and techniques to help you on this path of self-mastery! As we know from being in quarantine, life can change in an instant- by the day, by the week. Just a couple of months ago I flew to the UK, and now… I can’t (thanks, COVID). It is important with a changing world to know yourself and to adapt. There is a lot happening TO us, but the most defining factor will be how we all react.
If you’d like to share your experience with me, or have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!