As we quickly approach the end of the year, I’m sure you have a lot of feelings, thoughts, ideas, dreams, and ambitions all bubbling up under the surface.
This is the time of the year for change. For a better, faster, smarter, stronger version of yourself. And of course, I cannot encourage you enough to set New Year’s resolutions. Just make sure you are putting in systems to make them sustainable. Because motivation is weak and unsustainable. It is a fickle little twig that will snap under the slightest bit of pressure. Discipline, on the other hand, will do the work no matter what you encounter.
But I’m not here to talk about resolutions. What I’m here to share is much more important. Because it has the potential to not only help you this year, but also next year, the year after that, and every year following.
What I’m talking about is a simple concept known as the Yearly Letter. A one to two page (or more) letter written to yourself one year into the future. The idea behind this letter is rather self-explanatory, but the execution (like everything) is what matters.
I started this tradition just one year ago, and on January 1st 2018, I plan to read the letter I wrote to myself. I vaguely remember what I wrote (one of the benefits of having a bad memory). I do, however, recall the layout and questions I asked myself.
I’m excited to see what I wrote and hope that I have kept most of the promises to my past-self.
This year, my hope is that you too will take on the challenge of the Yearly Letter.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or take too much time. And if you’re not sure what to do, follow this simple framework:
The Yearly Letter
Dear Future Me,
[Use this space to talk about your current situation. Treat this almost like the good ol’ days of writing to your pen pal. Give an update on your current life and what it looks like. What are you feeling, thinking, and dreaming? What are you worried about or happy about? Just take some time to vent and share your deepest darkest thoughts with your future. Give them as much as you can give them.]
The idea here is to really paint a picture for your future self. To give them a vivid reminder of what life used to be like a year ago. Hold nothing back and tell them anything, no matter how stupid or naïve it may seem. Trust me, your future self is dying to know more and learn as much as possible. So leave nothing out.
Now that you’ve done some venting, take some time to answer a few very specific questions. You can use the following prompts or create your own:
What do I care about?
Who do I care about?
What do I want to accomplish this year? Why?
What are you willing to sacrifice to reach these accomplishments?
Current book you’re reading? (If you aren’t reading anything, choose a challenging idea or concept you are pondering)
My wish for you is…
If you’d like a ready-to-print template for answering these questions on paper, use this one:YEARLY LETTER TEMPLATE
Like I said, how invested you are in this exercise is entirely up to you. It can take 30 minutes or 3 hours. The main point lies in trying. Challenge yourself to not only have a New Year’s Resolution (throw in some monthly resolutions while you’re at it), but also take some time to write a Yearly Letter. Give your future self a gift and your current self a reminder of what you are striving for.
A lot can happen in a year and it can be difficult to remember how you felt exactly one year ago. But through writing a yearly letter, you give yourself a chance to notice two very important things:
- How much you’ve changed and improved yourself.
- What ideas you need to realign yourself with.
Good luck over this coming year. And remember: don’t let the prospect of a long-term resolution distract you from the importance of daily actions. 2018 may be your year, but TODAY is the most important day!