Writing a letter to your future self is a magnificent tool for increasing your confidence and self-esteem. As is writing a letter to your past self. Both of those things we’ll cover today.
How do you write a letter to your future, or past self?
- Write it to yourself from the perspective of where you are now, but to the person you were 3, 5, or 10 years ago. Or…
- Write to yourself from the perspective of the person you are in 3, 5, or 10 years, to the person you are now.
Sounds confusing? Let’s simplify it for you.
Assume for a moment that you want to try option 1. How does that work?
Writing a letter to your past self
In this technique, you write a letter to the person you were, say five years ago. In it, you explain some of the issues they’ll come up against. Some of the troubles they’ll experience and the pressures they’ll have to navigate.
Then you explain how to make the most of those struggles and disappointments. (Maybe mention some of the techniques, or strategies you know you should have used when it happened to you).
Here’s an example…
I’m writing this letter from the future, to give you a ‘heads-up’ about some of the hardships you’ll face over the next few years. But it’s not all bad. I’m also going to tell you how to deal with them, so they don’t affect you as badly as they did me the first time around.
Firstly, there’s going to be times when you’ll have to stand up in front of a group of people at work and explain to them what your day involves. Don’t worry though. It seems scary at first, but once it’s all over you’ll have learnt a great lesson in speaking techniques.
Just remember to look forward and speak out in front of you, not at your shoes like I did when I had to do it 🙂 . There’ll also be times when…….”
This is just a simple example to give you an idea of how to write to your former self.
The benefit this gives you, is it helps you to see the problems you faced as beatable. As things that, with the right focus, attitude and techniques can be overcome. It also gives you the power to take responsibility for any failures in the past and gives you the tools to do better next time.
We can often give advise to other people, that we wouldn’t necessarily take ourselves and by using this technique, that’s exactly what you’re doing. When you read it afterwards, you can see how much sense it makes, which gives you the motivation to try it yourself.
Writing to your future self
In this exercise you write to your self as you are now, from the perspective of the person you’ll be in the future. You explain to your friend (the present time you), how you got to where you are (in the future) and the hurdles and difficulties you overcame to get there.
Here’s a short example…
“Hey John, it’s future John here!
I just thought I’d drop you a line, to catch you up on what’s been going on.
A couple months ago, I got this wicked opportunity to try skydiving! I know, not something you’d ever think I’d do, but I did and it was really exciting. Admittedly, I was really scared at first, but I told myself, “Sometimes, sticking to the everyday just wears you down. Sometimes you just have to go for it”. Boy am I glad I did. That’s another story to tell the Grandkids and now I’ve done that, I’m pretty sure I can do anything!
Also, I’ve started going to the local ‘keep-fit’ classes at the local community centre. Again I was a bit unsure, you know what I used to be like around new people. But once I decided I was going to do it, I told everyone so there was no getting out of it 🙂 .
Something else that happened…… ”
Hopefully you get the idea
With this second technique, you’ve got two options once they’re written.
You can put it somewhere, where you can read it every day. This’ll remind you what you’re trying to achieve and motivate you to do the things you included in the letter. But also, you could do a series of letters. Maybe one from a year in the future, one from three years and one from five years. Then, you can email them to yourself, to actually receive them in the future!
There are several companies that were set up just for this purpose. By doing that, you not only get the benefit of seeing your plan every day, but you actually get the email at the time you said you were writing it from.
Then you can see how well you did with your plan.
If you want to write a letter you can receive in the future, there’s two options I recommend…
My personal favourite ‘Letter to My Future Self’ at https://lettertomyfutureself.net/ . This is a free service (at the time of writing), that lets you write a letter in what looks like a standard email. Once you’ve finished, you can schedule the email to send at any point in the future from 1 week to 10 years. There’s even a ‘custom’ choice you can choose.
The second option is from Future Me at https://www.futureme.org/ . With this option, once you’ve written your letter you can choose any date in the future to send it, using a built-in calendar.
Give it a try and let me know how you found the process, in the comments section.