Last Updated on August 31, 2021 by Angela Vaz
Writing a letter to your future self is the ultimate form of self-love and care.
I spent most of my life worrying about what others thought of me. I went out of my way to be helpful and kind. I’ve sacrificed my own happiness because I had a hard time saying no.
In 2019, I realized I was tired, hurt, and emotionally exhausted.
I knew that I needed to get real with myself and start making a change. I decided to write a letter to myself (to be opened on Christmas day) and that letter changed my life.
That letter gave me a perspective of how I had been living my life and why I needed to change.
It has helped me see clearly and I was able to draft meaningful goals and live my life more intentionally.
In this post, I will cover why writing a letter to yourself will help you and how you can do so.
Why would you write a letter to your future self?
1. This is a wonderful opportunity to be real with yourself
How often do you sit down and actually self-introspect? Our lives have become so busy that we are constantly running around trying to do a hundred different things.
Writing a letter to yourself gives you a chance to look within and understand who you really are. It will help you become mentally present.
This is crucial if you want to become a better human being and find true joy and meaning in life.
2. You will remember all that you’ve accomplished
As human beings, we constantly focus on what we lack, rather than what we possess.
We remind ourselves of every goal that we have not accomplished and this can be very off-putting.
It is absolutely necessary that you write down how far you’ve come and what you’ve accomplished. This will give you the positivity and self-confidence to push yourself forward and do more.
3. You will increase your self-worth
Once you remember all the things you’ve accomplished, the people you’ve added to your close circles, the lessons you have learned, you will increase your self-worth and become wiser.
This will allow you do to become more intentional with your time and your life.
4. You will be motivated to pursue your goals
If you do not write down your goals, you will forget them unless you possess a super memory.
A letter to your future self is a good reminder to pursue the goals you have set.
It will also give you the motivation you need to achieve them.
5. It will alleviate your pain
I write to heal.
2019 was probably one of the hardest years of my life because I got to know that my mom (my best friend) had fourth-stage cancer and a few months later, I discovered that the man I was with (for almost 10 years) had been cheating on me.
I knew that when Christmas came, I would feel my worst since this was my favorite holiday and I usually become emotional and melancholic during the holidays.
Writing a letter to myself helped me pick up the pieces and become a stronger person. And I moved into 2020 with my head held high and a really valuable love note from myself.
Let me show you how I did this.
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How do you write a letter to yourself?
Now that you understand how writing a letter to your future self will benefit you, let’s get down to actually writing the letter.
I’m going to break it down into very easy steps so that you can complete this wonderful exercise in less than an hour.
1. Keep your material ready
Although I am embracing minimalism, I personally prefer the feeling of holding a physical letter in my hand because it feels personal and seeing my own writing on paper soothes me.
I purchased these 2 items to do this task.
This is a collection of 12 letters with 12 journal prompts. You can fill up each letter and then seal it with the stickers included in the pack. They come with date slots which include the date you are writing the letter and the date you want to open it.
You can completely skip this step if you already have an envelope and some writing paper.
2. Decide when you want to open this letter
A lot of people open their letters at the start of the new year because it’s highly motivating.
I myself, open it on Christmas day because it gives me a week to absorb everything that I’ve written and create a beautiful plan for the next year.
I highly recommend not writing a letter to yourself 5-10 years in the future if you’re just beginning this exercise.
It is good to keep a short time span when you’re writing the first letter so that you can get that immediate gratification and not have to wait years to open your letter.
3. Be casual
You are talking to yourself. Remember how you comforted yourself or rationalized with yourself whenever you were anxious, scared or tensed.
Write like how you talk.
It needn’t be perfect. This is your chance to be extremely real and honest with yourself.
So, be casual. I usually start with a casual hello and move on to a positive affirmation/self-assurance. Like this:
How are you? Like really, how are you? I hope you are doing okay. And even if you are not, you need to know that it’s going to be okay. You are a strong and beautiful woman. You can do this.”
4. Summarize yourself
When you open this letter, you want to know what you were feeling and how you were doing when you wrote it.
So start with a nice introduction:
- Talk about how you’re feeling at the moment. Are you happy? Are you worried? Are you currently in limbo? Be honest with yourself.
- Describe what events are currently taking place in your life and how you’re dealing with it.
- Summarize a few lessons you’ve learned recently about life, relationships, business and so on.
5. Compliment yourself
Before you start pushing yourself to do this and that, compliment yourself. Praise yourself for coming so far in life and reading this letter with an open mind and an open heart.
Be grateful to yourself for being able to circumnavigate every obstacle and challenge without giving up.
This particular section will make your letter sound more positive and help your future self read your goals and aspirations with a clear mind.
6. Describe your personal goals and aspirations
If 1 year from now, you want to start learning how to play the piano, don’t just write, “Learn to play the piano.”
Your future self is going to be extremely overwhelmed.
List down a few actionable steps that you can take immediately to make this happen like:
- Invest in a good piano learning app
- Practise daily for 30 minutes
- Analyse your progress every month
Before you start writing down what you really want, ask yourself how you can improve your personal goals in these fields:
- Personal ambitions: Is there anything you wish to accomplish? Do you want to start taking online courses to become a lawyer? Have you always dreamed of mountain climbing? Write down your wishes and goals in your letter.
- Health: Have you always wanted to start a new diet and become more fit? You can draft a rough plan in your letter and encourage yourself to start a wonderful fitness journey.
- Business/Career: The work you do will play an important role in your happiness. Does your work make you happy? If you have your own business, ask yourself how you can make your work more fulfilling. Write down ways you can increase your income. Maybe there are some areas that you need to focus on.
- Finance: Do you want to start the new year curbing your spending habits? You can download an Expense app to keep track of your expenses and set budgets each month to help you do this. You can make a goal to declutter one part of your house each month.
- Friendships: Do you wish to cut out toxic friends and spend more time cultivating meaningful relationships? Make this a priority by writing it down in your letter.
- Relationships: Perhaps you haven’t found the love of your life yet. Don’t go chasing for love. Work on improving yourself first so that you can attract the person that’s right for you.
Include 2-3 sentences on each section or skip sections that you feel aren’t necessary.
7. Go easy on yourself
Your letter should end with a note of encouragement and positivity. Remind yourself that you are human and you need to relax as well.
Your goals will help you become a better person, but if you don’t achieve everything on your list, it’s not the end of the world.
What do you do once you’ve finished writing a letter to yourself?
Seal it, and put the date to be opened on the envelope. And keep it in a safe place, where you won’t be tempted to open it.
I keep mine in the second drawer of my nightstand because I never open it.
Create an event on your phone’s calendar so that you remember to open the letter on that specific date.
Your letter should come from a place of love and kindness. The main idea behind your letter is to forgive yourself for your past mistakes, aspire for the future, and give yourself the motivation to do your best.
So, don’t be too hard on yourself. Talk to yourself like how you’d talk to a dear friend.
Don’t hold yourself back. Be completely open and honest with yourself.
It’s okay to dream big and write down all the aspirations you wish to achieve.
I wish you all the best.