This post teaches you to how to start a future self journal and helps you understand what to write in it.
Last week, I watched episode 1 of season 5 of the show INSECURE. In this episode, the main character, Issa, encounters her college-age self in the bathroom mirror and they proceed to have an interesting conversation.
College-Issa asks current-Issa about her career, love life and friendships, only to find out that nothing has panned out the way that she hoped it would.
Present day-Issa reveals to college-Issa that her love life is rocky, her relationship with her best friend is in limbo and frankly, her career path is unclear.
After she has this conversation with herself, she goes on to have a series of self realizations that lead her to confront the reality that the relationship she fought so hard for, is no longer what she wants. By the end of the episode, she breaks up with her boyfriend.
(At this point, if you’re double-checking what website you’re on, don’t worry lol. This isn’t a show recap post).
I bring it up because to me, that entire sequence of events is a perfect example of how a conversation with your future self can provide the clarity and inspiration that you need to make some very necessary changes to your life.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is pretty much the entire concept of future-self journaling.
Have you heard of it? Because if you like to journal, it’s a game changer.
What Is a Future Self Journal?
There are many types of journaling.
And among them, future-self journaling is pretty much exactly what it sounds like.
In this form of journaling, you look forward and write to your future self, instead of looking backward and reviewing what has already happened to you in the past (which is what self reflective journaling styles usually have you do).
By writing letters and starting an ongoing conversation with future-you, you will start to realize what you need to do to create the future that you desire.
Someone I know referred to my future self journal as “a vision board but in journal form” and I think that’s the best description that I’ve ever heard.
The Psychology Behind Keeping a Future Self Journal
Academic publications use the term “future self-continuity” to represent the connection between your present-day self and your your future-self.
When this 2018 study had people write letters to their future self, researchers found that those who were more connected to their distant future self exercised more in the days after they wrote letters. Another study suggests a link between future self-continuity and saving more money.
Overall, these and a few other articles suggest that feeling more connected to our future selves helps us to make positive decisions that are in the best interest of our future selves.
Keeping a future self journal is a way for us to achieve and maintain this connection.
you may also like : How to Capitalize on the Law of Attraction with a Vision Board
Why You Should Really Consider Doing a Future Self Journal [Incredible Benefits!]
Take a cue from Issa! Exploring the gap between who you are now and who your desired future self is can help you achieve your future goals.
In addition to that, here are 6 more benefits of future self journaling-
1. Understand Your Behavior & Tendencies
It’s hard to see ourselves objectively. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to explain away your behavior and patterns? We are always going to have excuses for why we do the things that we do.
Being able to re-read your thought patterns and analyze how you make decisions is a good way to figure out what you need to work on.
2. Fewer Repeated Mistakes
Expressive writing and uninhibited journaling unveil our subconscious ways of thinking.
And by becoming aware of your subconscious habits, you can start to change your ways of being.
Instead of reacting to things in your usual way, you can be more intentional and control how you respond.
3. Less Stress
Journaling is a healthy way to release pent up emotions and untangle complicated feelings.
4. Clearer Vision
Where do you want to be in a few days? In a few months? In a few years?
If you can visualize that, then you can work backwards and identify what steps you need to take to get where you want to be.
Who better to be accountable to than the person most involved in your life? YOURSELF!
Future self journaling is a way for your future self to hold your current self accountable for making the right moves.
This form of journaling also helps you to track your improvements and growth over time.
6. Positive Outlook for the Future
When you imagine your ideal future, without any limitations, what choice do you have but to look forward to it?
It’s like a ‘choose your own ending’ novel.
How to Start Future Self Journaling
Now, let’s get down to business. You want to know how to do future self journaling. Well, here’s what you need to do.
- Identify one trait, pattern or habit in your life that you wish to be different in the future
- Using future self journaling questions for inspiration, write a letter to your future self
- Visualize what your future self would do in the situations that you struggle with today.
- Do they respond differently when triggered? Do they feel differently about themselves?
- Ask your future self questions. Make plans with your future.
All of this is helpful!
- Commit to writing to your future self every day, for a set duration of time (like 30 days straight for example)
REMEMBER: you don't necessarily have to write your future self journal. You can: - audio record your journal - video record yourself speaking to your future self - email your future self by scheduling emails to be delivered to yourself in the future
Ultimately, you decide what to write in a self journal, but some general guidelines include the following.
Tips to Make Your Future Self Journal Work for You
Make It a Daily Habit
At the risk of sounding too ‘slangy’…. this ain’t no quick fix.
Repetition is key to changing the way that we think.
Which means that you want to write every day, preferably around the same time (to help cement the habit).
By keeping a daily future self journal, you will start to notice patterns in the way that you think and react to everyday situations.
Make Gratitude a Priority
One way to get past the mental roadblock keeping you from journaling is to be grateful for this opportunity to evolve.
Don’t approach this activity from a place of dissatisfaction with yourself or with your life. Instead, feel thankful that you have a tool like this to help you mold your future.
Tailor It to Your Unique Goals
Don’t pick a habit to change because you think that’s what everyone else would suggest.
Pick a goal that truly aligns with who you picture your best self to be. That’s the whole point.
Be true to what that vision is.
Don’t Confuse Hard Work with “Manifestation”
Just like this ain’t no quick fix, this ain’t magic!
Don’t expect the simple act of writing to magically transform you into the person you’ve always wanted to be.
The bridge between current self and future self requires REAL strategy and everyday work.
A future self journal will only help you figure out what bricks you’ll need to lay to build that bridge.
Even if this whole concept feels new and/or unfamiliar, you are the only person that determines what your journal looks like. YOU!
Don’t beat yourself up if it’s confusing at first… or if you feel silly when you first start writing…. or if you miss out on writing some days. Just keep going and continue to try and try again.
Future Self Writing Prompts to Get You Started
Like most things in life, the hard part is getting started. To give you the help and push that you might need, I’ve come up with some journaling questions that will get you into the right state of mind.
Use the future self journaling prompts below to start writing.
- I would like to stop [insert bad habit] so that I can [insert goal] in the future.
- What opportunities do I need to seek now to become my future self?
- What things will I eventually need to walk away from to become my future self?
- When I think of my future self, what emotion do I feel? How do I want to feel?
- My future self is no longer triggered by [insert trigger]. Instead, my future self reacts by [insert desired reaction].
- The theme or mantra for my future self is [insert mantra here].
- Pick a date in the future and describe it from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep.
- How will my future self treat myself?
- 3 things that my future self will be thankful for are _______ ?
- What advice would my future self give to my current self right now?
So, now that you’re a future journaling pro, are you excited to ‘design your future’ ?
What do you plan to write in your future self journal?