Dear Future Me

Challenge contributor Chai Pei Shan muses on the benefits of writing to a future self.
Writing to your future self is a visualisation exercise.

The idea of sending your future self a postcard may sound strange. How does it work? Why would I send myself a message? What should I write? Those were the questions I had when I explored this activity.

Writing to your future self is a visualisation exercise. Visualisation is the ability to picture in your mind the things that you want in your life so that you can achieve them. This technique has been used in positive psychology, as part of Outward Bound programmes, and by athletes, entrepreneurs and other high-achieving individuals.

How a Simple Postcard Can Serve You

Writing a postcard to your future self can bring value to your life. Even though the postcard is for the future, writing it requires self-reflection in the present.

Reality Check

As we grow through life, we may forget about our earlier intentions, promises and the things we value. This postcard can serve as a reality check, helping you to ponder essential questions and see if you are moving in the right direction.

Self-reflection and Reminders

This reflective and liberating activity encourages you to reflect on your strengths, celebrate your accomplishments and clarify your goals.

The postcard can be a tangible reminder of your learning experience for the future. Many successful people keep journals and engage in frequent self-reflection.

How To Write a Visualisation Postcard

Imagine a postcard that energises you and empowers you to face the uncertainty of an unknown future. Here are several tips to making it happen:

Don’t Be Afraid To Dream Big

Resist the urge to edit or restrict yourself. Add anything and everything that will help you achieve your goals. Make it aspirational.

Write down your loftiest aspirations and the small wins along the way, describing how they came to fruition and writing as if they have already happened.

Be Kind and Encouraging

Use the same tone you would if you were writing to a good friend.

As author and life coach Laurie Buchanan writes, self-care is “a deliberate choice to gift ourselves with people, places, things, events, and opportunities that recharge our personal battery and promote whole health – body, mind and spirit.”

Ask Yourself These Questions

  • What is important to me? – This will make you redefine your values. The things that are important to you might change over time, so it is a useful idea to reflect on this.
  • Am I living a life that is true to myself? – If you try to meet everyone else’s expectations, you might be drifting far away from yours.

The beauty of this visualisation activity is that you control the narrative, and you can seed a story with a happy ending.

The beauty of a visualisation postcard is that you could control the narrative and seed a story with a happy ending.

Make It Fun and Specific

When you have greater clarity about your future, you can more easily envision it.

Challenge yourself to be curious about the possibilities of what your new stories might be. There is power in visualising your desired future, writing it down, and then watching it come alive. You could be pleasantly surprised at what you learn about yourself in the journey.

Prompts for Penning a Postcard

Imagine it’s 2025:

  • What, specifically, do you hope to be celebrating?
  • What do your life and career look like?
  • Think about what you’ll be doing: what are your hobbies, who will be your colleagues or family, and where will you live, work and play?

Write a postcard to your future self about some of the things you would like to achieve, such as a personal strength, lesson or goal.

For a physical postcard, keep the written postcard somewhere safe and add a reminder to your calendar for when to open or retrieve it. Digital “postcards” can be as simple as a scheduled email to yourself, or try online services such as FutureMe.

This is a creative opportunity for you to think ahead and imagine your future(s). It’s a unique chance to think about all you can achieve and become in the near future, and in the long term too.

Write a postcard to your future self about the things you would like to achieve

Writing a letter to my future self was invigorating for me. Here’s mine:

Dear Future Me,

Shan, today is your 40th birthday. You are celebrating a new and fulfilling journey with your cute daughters, loving husband, happy colleagues and loved ones.

Career and Professional Growth

You are a servant leader and a pro in upskilling together with your colleagues. Your quest for life learning continues to inspire your children and loved ones.

You enjoy motivating others to live their dreams and shine in their gifts and talents. You know that your heart lies in being a contributor in public service, especially in the communications and collaboration fields.

You love creating fresh ideas and actively listen, while partnering with others for success. You win more friends and influence because of your friendly and helpful demeanour. You also perform well while embracing honesty and respecting diverse viewpoints.

Passion

You enjoy speaking to a global audience on refreshing topics that enrich their lives. You are a natural storyteller, even in everyday conversations. You inspire others to grow, to speak up confidently for the things they believe in.

You are living your storyteller (S.H.A.N) dream: to be a world-class Speaker, who shares with Humour, Authenticity and Novelty.

You take your mum on a cruise holiday and travel together across Europe. Your daughters shine in school, communicate confidently and become role models to serve the community.

Lifestyle, Relationships and Family

You love yourself and prioritise self-care. You can say “no” firmly to others and are more resilient than in your 30s.

You volunteer regularly at Toastmasters meetings to catch up with friends and help others improve their public speaking skills.

You eat healthfully and feel beautiful. Your sweet tooth does not bother you anymore. You exercise, cycle, or run with your daughters regularly and love sweating it out.

On most days, you feel that you look good for your age and your goal is to have that feeling at every age. Covid, ageing or dying does not scare you anymore. You live life to the fullest.

You wake up every morning saying “I love life”, and you hope to feel for many years to come.

Love and respect,
Shan

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  • POSTED ON
    Feb 25, 2022
  • TEXT BY
    Chai Pei Shan
  • ILLUSTRATION BY
    Lei Ng
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