At 5pm on a Tuesday afternoon, in 2 years’ time, where will you be?
What will you be doing? What will you be feeling happy about? What will you be proud of? What will you be excited about? Do you ever wonder?
The truth for most of us is that we’re generally so busy each day doing what we need to do for our families, our jobs, our health etc., that we don’t take much time to plan for the future. We probably all have to do lists in various formats but do you have a plan for achieving your hopes and dreams over the next few years?
Knowing what is important to us, being able to express what we hope for and dream about doing and achieving, helps us to recognise our values and experience meaning in life. This is important, because as we wrote about in our last blog (What's the meaning of life anyway?), feeling a higher level of meaning is linked to higher levels of wellbeing and engagement.
A great exercise to try from Positive Psychology is the “Letter from the Future” which is all about discovering and acknowledging your hopes and dreams. Your dreams for the future can give you the impetus to set some more concrete goals for yourself and help you to notice opportunities in your daily life that might help you achieve what you wish.
Creating your letter from the future
Here’s the procedure. Choose a date some months or years ahead. Then imagine that life has gone rather well. Things have turned out the way you wanted them to. You have generally been able to do the things you want and have behaved in the way you would prefer. Write yourself a letter telling yourself about the developments in your life. Try to imagine how your life would feel if you were successful and fulfilled.
It doesn’t have to be written!
I know that not everyone enjoys writing so please don’t be turned off by the concept of a letter. This activity can be done in various ways. One of my clients recently recorded a “voice message from the future”. She found chatting into her phone felt much more natural than writing or typing. Instead as speaking or writing you could also draw, paint or collect images. The important thing is that you’re finding a way to express your vision of how things are at a specific moment in the future.
We hope you find your letter enlightening and encouraging!
Adapted by Flourishing Mothers from the work of Anthony Grant and Jane Green