Why You Should Write Notes to Your Future Self
‘Future journaling’ helps you see past your everyday challenges and focus on your true goals
Last year, I had dinner with a 98-year-old woman, who was describing her life during World War II with the calmness of someone listing off what she ate for breakfast that morning. As she spoke, she seemed completely at peace, not worrying at all about what else she had to do or where she had to be. When we said our goodbyes that evening, she held both my hands and smiled, and I felt incredibly safe.
As I thought about her later that evening, I wondered what my life will be like when I reach her age. What will I have accomplished? Will I have any regrets? What will keep me up at night? Lost in my own thoughts, I decided it was a good time to practice one of my favorite rituals: future journaling.
With future journaling, you simply write a letter to your future self. The time frame doesn’t really matter — you can imagine yourself a week, a month, 10 years, or 50 years down the road. What’s key is that you lay out your current worries and look for guidance in the bigger picture of your life.
Our present selves, it turns out, are horrible judges of our immediate realities. We’re swayed by temporary circumstances, by our shifting emotions, by what we see others around us doing or achieving. Future journaling helps us focus on our true goals and values so we don’t get caught up in the challenges that can cloud our vision. It’s also helpful for controlling anxiety, doubt, and indecision.
That night, I wrote a letter to my 100-year-old self, asking her how she’s doing and what I hope for her life.
How are you? Is your mind still sharp? Do you still feel good in your body? I hope you’ve taken care of yourself over the years, with your body, your mind, and your soul.