There are all sorts of different self-development and goal-setting exercises out there that people take up for the purpose of better achieving their dreams, and living consistently in line with their values. Some of the better known of these practices include things like setting “SMART Goals,” practicing daily positive affirmations, working to achieve a “miracle morning” routine, and more. But one practice that has real life changing potential but is really recommended, is writing a letter to your future self.
Here are a few reasons why it may be a great idea to write a letter to your future self, seal it, and commit to only opening it after a set number of years have passed.
To give yourself a clear sense of perspective on the direction you’re currently heading
It’s easy to end up getting caught on “autopilot” sometimes. In fact, it’s frequently much too easy.
One of the many issues with this situation is that you end up lacking a sense of balance and context in your life, and may well look up one day to find that years have passed you by, and you’ve been more or less drifting aimlessly, without strong intentions or emotional anchors to draw you in the right direction.
Writing a letter to your future self forces you to consider the question of whether you are heading in the direction you want to be heading in, and it demands a greater sense of mindfulness and awareness of your present circumstances and shortcomings.
In other words, it can demand a degree of healthy introspection from you in the here and now.
To nudge you to take your existing aspirations and goals more seriously
In life, it’s often the case for many of us that we set ourselves ambitious goals, or have high-flying aspirations for the future, but that we ultimately keep those goals and aspirations at arm’s length and never really get around to “taking them seriously.”
When you write a letter to your future self, however, you’re forced to confront the topic of just who it is you’re writing to. What does this “future you” look like? Where do they live? What do they do for a living? What is their family life like?
Writing to future self can, in other words, really push you to take your existing aspirations and goals more seriously, and to act on them.
Maybe you really want a family but you haven’t seriously investigated the possibilities in that regard, at all. Writing a letter to your future self might encourage you to look into things such as Advanced Fertility, for example.
To help you to “develop a relationship with your future self”
In the field of psychology, it has been known for a long time that people who are able to strive for future goals and practice “deferred gratification” in the present, are frequently happier and more successful over the course of their lives.
Writing a letter to your “future self” helps you to develop a relationship with your future self. In other words, it can encourage you to actually take your future self seriously, and to work towards the interests of that future self, more earnestly.
This, in turn, can significantly help you with things like deferred gratification.
P.S. This post is a partner collaboration.