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You know the benefits of journaling — improved confidence, increased self-worth and heightened quality of life. Future self journaling is a specific daily method influenced by cognitive behavioral therapy practices. Each day, the writer envisions their future self through self-selected prompts.
Imagining your future self will provide you with compassion in the present, rewriting negative thought patterns and self-talk. The repetition of answering the same set of chosen questions every day will rewire your mind to a more holistic and honest view of yourself. So, what questions can you pick to get started on your future self journaling practice?
1. How would my future self overcome this stage of my life?
This question is powerful because it forces your present self to understand you will grow enough in the future to provide wisdom. It also reminds you in the present day that you have the knowledge already to overcome life’s obstacles. That reminder in and of itself may be enough to instill you with the confidence to work through times of struggle.
2. How will my future self feel when I accomplish this goal?
It isn’t easy to stay motivated sometimes, but anticipation is critical for focusing and having the energy to detect problems that stand between you and success. If you perceive how relieved or confident you will feel when you set your mind to your current goal, it could help propel you in the present.
It will also affirm why a particular goal you set is essential to you. If you don’t see your future self prioritizing it, it can provide insight that your goal needs to change. If you notice your future self is unaffected by the completion of a goal, then is it worth your time and effort?
3. What can I do today to benefit my future self?
This prompt is excellent for those who want tangible, actionable results. The answer to this could be anything from a to-do or a mental shift. Your future self tomorrow could benefit from you doing laundry, or your future self could be happy in 10 years if you championed your bad procrastination habit.
Since you write in future self journals daily, each day is a chance to make small changes. Writing down big objectives here may not be practical — but instead, take small steps toward more considerable action. This will be the evidence-based journaling that will allow you in the future to look back on these entries and reflect on your progress.
4. What little things can I do to bring more joy into my life?
Think of this as a favor for your future self. Conscious, intentional reflection of the hobbies and actions that bring you joy now will hopefully become commonplace, or even habit, in the future. This could replace negative patterns, such as spiraling while doomscrolling on social media. This prompt isn’t focused on eliminating negative thoughts or habits but hopes to do that as a side effect by emphasizing what you care about.
5. What is an event from my past my future self would see with compassion?
Though future self-journaling forces our present selves to receive validation from our future selves, we should see our past with the same kindness. Reflecting on past embarrassments, anger or shame can be healing, especially if you notice your self-development allows you to see the past through a new perspective.
This prompt may not be for everyone — maybe you’re not ready to look back at certain events in your life yet. Potentially after therapy, more extended reflection or confiding in loved ones as time goes about a specific experience, you’ll be able to put pen to paper and reveal how much you’ve forgiven yourself.
6. My future self would encourage me to…
Maybe there’s an event you’re considering going to or someone you haven’t asked on a date yet — but you probably should. What’s influential about this prompt is there isn’t an inherent obligation to succeed or commit. This is a chance to practice self-love, as your future self could be your biggest cheerleader.
Maybe your future self would encourage you to skip that party because rest is more important, or maybe your future self would encourage you to go on that date — not just to see if it works — but as an exercise in self-confidence.
Journaling for Your Future Self
Today is the day to start envisioning your future. Though it sounds like it won’t affect you now, future self journaling is one of the most intentional ways to craft the best version of yourself. Every prompt is customizable to your priorities, and so long as you complete them daily, the gradual mental adjustments will become apparent in time. Eventually, you’ll see the future self you’ve been writing about is you right now.
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