Why you should write a letter to your future self today
Are you fascinated by the concept of time capsules? If yes, then join the club! A Time Capsule is basically a collection of items – trinkets, knick-knacks, letters, photographs, toys, audio recordings, anything at all – that you store in a secure location (usually buried somewhere), and you access these items after a certain time period – this could be a year from now, two years, five years, or longer! It is an exercise of planned communication with a future people about who you were, how you lived, and who you plan to be at the time of ‘unearthing’ the time capsule. Pretty cool, right?
Now, the time capsule concept has been around for centuries! It helps others from the future such as historians and anthropologists understand what the past was like. That said, there’s no reason why we can’t create time capsules for ourselves, by ourselves. Imagine finding something that you had addressed to yourself, with a list of dreams you hope you’d achieve in a few years, some fun facts about yourself at the time of crafting the capsule, your favourite song then – you get the idea. Picture yourself opening this little capsule and reliving those years again and charting how far you’ve come!
While we may not have the time to put together a bunch of things for our future selves, here’s an easy and low-investment but oh-so-rewarding way to talk to your future self, and for your future self to admire you.
Write yourself a letter.
It’s a simple act. Take a sheet of paper, and write a note to your future self. You can write anything with no fear of judgement because the reader is a fan of your work already! Here are some ideas to help you get started.
- Write about your day, your habits, what you had for lunch, what your plans are for the evening.
- Write a list of things to do, goals to achieve, places you’d like to visit.
- Include some predictions for yourself. These could be serious, silly, and even impossible!
- Ask your future self how you feel about certain things – it could be your current favourite dish, your go-to song, your favourite book or author, even your favourite movie.
To be honest, the ways to go about this are endless! You can add some elements to your letter – include some stickers, write in coloured pens, draw a little doodle, or attach a small photograph to the letter!
But, why would I want to write a letter to future-me?
The answer is simple – why not?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to pen your thoughts for the future, something rife with optimism and joy, or hopeful and loving? Also, think about how you will feel when you find this letter tucked between the pages of a long-forgotten book on your shelf, or when you open it and read about who you were, what your thoughts are for yourself a few years down the line.
Here are more reasons to convince you to write a letter to your future self today!
1. It’s fun!
Writing this letter makes for a fun weekend project, something that doesn’t need much – just you, some paper, and a pen. You can make a day of it by going to your favorite café, or a park and writing there. Think of all the fun things about yourself that you love, and about the things your future self would be up to, and write about them!
2. It’s aspirational
Having goals and dreams are what make us hopeful of the future, so isn’t it wonderful to document these goals for ourselves? As we write these ‘things to achieve’, we not only aspire for a brighter tomorrow, but we also practically assess who we are today and where we’d like to be.
3. It’s motivational
Now that you’ve written a letter to yourself and have included a goal or two, you will find yourself a bit more motivated than usual. This is because you’ve now sort of promised yourself that you will achieve a few things, and you wouldn’t want to break a promise, especially one that you’ve made for yourself! Also, imagine the pride your future self would experience when they realize that they’ve fulfilled the goals they set out on achieving a year or so ago!
In fact, research from Oxford and Cambridge shows that our ability to vividly imagine details about a better and brighter future increases our energy and momentum, leading to constructive action.
4. It’s a self-reflection tool
Writing in itself is a constructive exercise, because we use multiple pieces of ourselves to transfer our thoughts onto paper. The tactile experience engages us in several ways, making the process quite therapeutic. What’s better is how writing a letter to our future selves acts as a self-reflection tool. We take the time to pause and understand who we are today, where we were yesterday, and how far we’ve come. We understand, a bit better, what experiences shaped us to be who we are, and what may mould us to be a better version of who we are today, tomorrow.
Once we read this letter in the future, we can trace the various paths we had to go through to be who we are then. A journey by the self and for the self, is the best outcome of this exercise.
Writing a letter to our future selves also helps increase self-awareness. A better understanding and acceptance of who we are helps us in assessing our positives and our gaps, aids in cultivating emotional intelligence, developing empathy, boosts creative thinking and increases productivity.
The best reason to write a letter to your future self is the nostalgic journey that you are bound to go on. You will once again get to relive some great memories from when you wrote the letter, and you will get to bask in the joy of how far you’ve come since then. We suggest doing this alone, or even with a group of your closest friends – company makes such activities twice as better!