For those who are seeking out ways to regroup and recreate themselves, future self journaling is a great way to do so. It is a technique to condition your mind to work towards something – be that an identity of self, a physical or material goal, or even a way to heal your mind and body. It is also a powerful tool that helps you transition your life from what it is to what you want it to be.
Future self journaling is the process of writing a note to your future self, describing in detail what you would like to be doing then, such as a particular goal you would like to have achieved, an emotional hurt that you would want to heal from, or a discipline that you would like to master.
Future self journaling is a way of experiencing how healing and self-growth manifest in your life. There are a few things to keep in mind when you practice future self journaling and this article deep-dives into some of those aspects. Keep on reading to find out more about what makes future self journaling such a powerful tool, how to go about practicing this, and a few prompts and ideas to get you started on this journey.
Value of Future Self Journaling
There are huge benefits to practicing future self journaling. It is a great tool to help you achieve your goals through self-awareness and accountability. Future self journaling is also helpful in overcoming fears and other emotional burdens that we may have been unknowingly carrying with us for far too long. It is a way of healing, of understanding what we need to do in order to grow and evolve and become better versions of ourselves.
Materialistically, future self journaling also helps in understanding what needs to be done to inch your way towards a goal you have in mind for a long time.
For instance, if you want to be debt-free, future self journaling helps you envision what it might feel like to be debt-free and have financial freedom, and that, in turn, would inspire you to reach that stage in your financial life at the earliest. You would readily chalk out a roadmap to make this vision a reality.
Spend Some Time Reflecting on Your Present Situation
In order to understand where you want to be, you need to first take stock of how things are at present. It is essential to understand what is working for you and what is not before you chart a course that will take you to where you want to be. In order to reflect effectively, you can start jotting down details of your present situation and the various aspects of your life – what brings you joy, and what has a scope for improvement.
List out the behaviors that are hindering you from achieving that goal at present. Once you have them in black and white, clearly written in front of you, it will, by default, act as a guiding tool for you to refer to as you make progress towards your goals and help you course-correct whenever you think you may have strayed from the path that leads to your end goal.
Introduce One Behavioral Change
After you have made the list of the behaviors and patterns that are the obstacles in your path to achieving your goal, choose from the list of behaviors, and introduce a change in that behavioral pattern.
Trying to change too many things at one go would be frustrating and you may even lose interest in the process. The changes need to be sustained over long periods of time, and that is why taking baby steps to bring about those changes will be more fruitful.
In the end, it is a mental game and the idea is not to leave the arena by succumbing to the fatigue of having to make too many changes in one sweep. Making slow and steady progress is key.
Include Positive Affirmations in Your Daily Life
Just as you have to feed your body a daily diet of nutritious food, your mind too needs something positive to thrive on. Using daily positive affirmations is a great technique of future self journaling and it helps you stay focused and optimistic about your goals.
These positive affirmations could be something simple like a Post-It note that says that you can do that 6-mile run, or that you can abstain from unnecessary spending – whatever your goal is.
Think of this as a form of micro future self journaling. You can write it on a scrap of paper and stick it to the mirror so that you can see it and derive motivation from it regularly.
Plan a Roadmap
Now that you know your end goal and the behaviors that need to be altered to reach that end goal, your next step is to strategize on how to make your goal a reality. You will need defined steps to bridge the gap between your present and the future that you want to see yourself in.
Think of it as a goal-setting process where you set tangible goals that are specific, measurable, and realistic. Using the same example of being debt-free, you could set a strategy of hitting a certain milestone every month until you see the entire debt vanish.
Gratitude plays a significant role in our perspective toward life. There are many ways to practice gratitude. Even when practicing future self journaling, it is important to remain grateful for the challenges of today as they also throw open the doors of opportunity for you to evolve and become a better version of yourself.
See how gratitude plays an important part in future self journaling in this video:
Try to Be Regular With Your Journaling
Having a good future self journaling notebook may help you get into the habit of journaling more regularly. This Time Next Year* is a great interactive journaling notebook that you may consider investing in.
One last thing to keep in mind is to keep the mental clutter of a thousand discouraging voices, that we all have somewhere in our subconscious, at bay. There will be many days when you will wonder if writing this journal will actually lead you to where you want to be. It is essential that you have faith and trust the process rather than yield to the Debbie Downers in your head.
Some Prompts and Ideas to Get You Started
- In the next five years, my life will be…: This prompt urges you to visualize in detail where you will be in life. You can describe the city where you would like to live, your home, your job, or even your partner.
- Next year this time, I will be grateful for…: List all the things you think will plan on doing that will make you happy. It could be more quality time spent with your family or completing an ultra-marathon. The options are endless.
- Write a letter to your future self describing your journey of the next five years and how you went about achieving each goal and milestone you had set for yourself.
Your identity should not be limited to who you are now, but where you are headed. Therefore, it is always very important to know where you want to be in a few years’ time and work towards that idea by adopting new habits and practices that take you closer to your goal. Future self journaling is definitely one way to achieve this goal.
- The Holistic Psychologist: How to Get the Most Out of Future Self Journaling
- Tracking Happiness: Future Self Journaling – How To, Studies & Examples
- Join Cake: 10 Tips for Starting (And Keeping) a Future Self Journal
- Wikipedia: Debbie Downer
- Dave Ramsey: How the Debt Snowball Method Works
- Life Hack: 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude
- Create Write Now: Journaling Exercise – Write a Letter to Your Future Self
- Wikipedia: Affirmations (New Age)