Write a Letter To Your Future Self

Have you written a letter to your future self before? Back in the early 2010s, I came across the Yahoo! Time Capsule, where users could contribute to a digital legacy of how life was in 2006, which would be opened at a later date. I then came up with the idea to write a letter to your future self, where you write a personal note to your future self, seal it, and then open it at a future date. There are no restrictions on how far you should project into the future — you can write to your future self 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, or even 10 years from now!

Why Write a Letter To Your Future Self?

Doing this exercise can be a very powerful experience.

Imagine writing to your future self 5 years from now — what would you say to him/her? What kind of person would you be? What goals would you want to have achieved? Writing the letter gets you thinking about your goals 5 years from now. As you write your letter, you start to think about the actions you should take now to achieve your goals by then.

When you read your letter 5 years into the future, you can assess (a) whether this vision you wrote before matches who you are today, and (b) how much of it has been achieved. Often times, our life plans are subjected to many changes due to unexpected obstacles, unanticipated circumstances, and changing life priorities. Your letter lets you take a step back and identify the things you need to continue or do differently to move forward.

In addition, when you write your letter, your consciousness and thoughts are stored in your words. When you read it, it’s like you are being contacted by the old you. It gives you a different insight into yourself and lets you see how much you have changed since then. :)

How To Write Your Letter

While you can write to your future self from any time period, I recommend to start with a one year time frame. This way, it’s easier to envision your goals, and it also gives you a comfortable time frame to take action.

(If you like, you can write two letters, one to the future you a year later and another to the future you three or five years later.)

Refer to today’s date.

  1. Imagine writing to your future self exactly a year (or 3 years or 5 years) from now. What do you want to say to him/her? Some consideration points:
    • What do you want to be one year from now?
    • What are the goals and dreams you want realized by then?
    • What is your desired status for the areas on your life wheel? Career/Business/Studies? Money/Wealth? Family? Friends? Love? Health? Spirituality? Recreation? Contribution? Self-Image?
  2. Once you’re done, sign off with your name and today’s date.
  3. Keep your letter in a safe place.
    • Put the papers in an envelope. Seal it.
    • On the cover, write “To [Your Name]. To be opened on [Date].” Replace “[Your Name]” with your name, with “[Date]” the date that’s one year from now.
    • Set an appointment in your calendar to open your letter one year from now.
    • Put this envelope in a safe place where no one can access it.
  4. In this one year, work hard on your goals and vision! Then open and read your letter one year from today. :)

For your letter format, you can either write a physical letter or type it. I used to write my letters using pen and paper, but I’ve since switched to typing and printing the final copy (this way I have a backup if anything happens).

You can use FutureMe.org, a service that helps you send your message to your desired email address at any point in the future. Personally I recommend to write your letter on your computer and store it, rather than using such a service. With an external service, you never know who has access to your letters, and your letter will be gone if the service gets shut down.

Opening My Letter From My Past Self

Back in 2008, on February 2010, I wrote two letters to my future selves. The first letter was to my future self one year later, on February 10, 2009. The second letter was to my future self 5 years later, on February 10, 2013.

So a year later on February 10, 2009, I opened my first letter and read in excitement. It was interesting seeing what I was like a year ago and how much I have changed. There were some things that I accurately foresaw, and many things I didn’t anticipate.

In terms of goals, I had achieved several goals. For Career, I leapt ahead of my predictions — in my letter, I wrote that I would still be working in my ex-company while working on my purpose on the side, and quit my job a few years later. As it turned out, I had already quit my job and started working on my purpose full time! :) In terms of Health, I had reached my desired weight/look, something I was really proud of as losing weight was something I had struggled with for years.

There were some goals I had not reached yet. For example for Love, I thought that I would have found my relationship partner by then, but I had not. This wasn’t an issue as I came to the realization that we are already perfect as singles (I would later meet my husband in 2013). In terms of Friendship, some friends whom I thought I would still be on great terms with had slipped away. Instead, I formed great friendships with other people in the past year. In a way, it’s a natural equilibrium — when you let go of certain connections, new connections will take their place.

There were goals that I didn’t reach as I abandoned them halfway because they lost meaning to me. For example, buying a car. When I received a pay rise the previous year and was able to consider getting a car, I realized that owning a car in Singapore, where public transport is readily available, does not resonate with my highest self. My original intent of getting a car was more for image reasons — growing up, we were often told that having a car was a symbol of success. That desire had long been shed, along with my old self. Not to mention, having a car isn’t exactly environmentally friendly.

On the same note, I had changed in the past year in terms of my materialistic tendencies. While I was not a materialistic person when I wrote my letter in 2008 (I was 23), I became less materialistic since, given my revelations on material wealth and goods. My consciousness was also higher as I had been working a lot on my growth.

All in all, reading my letter made me realize several things. It made me more conscious of how I have changed vs. the past (vs. just relying on memory). It reminded me of some of my past visions that I lost track of along the way. It made me appreciate how far I have come and look forward to the future.

Subsequently, I opened my 5-year letter and shared my results here: Write a Letter To Your Future Self [Video]

Write Your Letter To Your Future Self

Grab your pen and paper now and start writing your letter to your future self! Identify a time period to write to, imagine what you would be like, and then start writing! Think about the kind of person you would like to be, what you would want to be doing, what you would have accomplished by then, and what you want to say to yourself.

Follow the steps in the exercise above. Get working on your goals, then open your letter with pride a year from now! :)

Update Aug 2014: I created a video tutorial on writing a letter to your future self, where I share more tips plus open my 5-year letter to myself. Watch: Writing a Letter to Your Future Self [Video]

For those of you with Live a Better Life in 30 Days, the task for Day 29 is to write a letter to your future self.