Most people can probably think of several things they’d love to improve about themselves. But breaking a bad habit or working toward a better you isn’t always easy. What if keeping a journal could be the solution you’ve been looking for, creating a path to productivity and self-betterment? That’s exactly what future self journaling is meant to do. And, it’s a great way to change how you see the future and yourself.
What Is Future Self Journaling?
Before diving into how this type of journaling works, it’s important to know what it is. This isn’t your typical journaling experience where you write down what happened throughout the day – that’s still a good habit to get into, though. Instead, future self journaling is closer to manifestation journaling with a focus on talking to your future self.
It may sound weird at first, but talking to future you helps you take back control of your life. Maybe your past has thrown you off the path you wanted for yourself. While you can’t change the past, you can change your current actions and your future.
How Do Entries Work?
While you can talk about what’s currently going on in your life, focus mainly on what future you is doing. For instance, what is future you doing to accomplish a goal? How is future you getting more work done each day, or how has your future self achieved a satisfying work/life balance?
People often write entries as letters to their future selves, while other people prefer writing about their goals, dreams, and habits and how they want to change. No matter how you do it, just do what works for you. If you try to overcomplicate it, you won’t stick with future self journaling as a regular habit.
What Are the Main Benefits?
If you’re someone who hates journaling, you probably think this will actually hurt your productivity. Studies have proven, though, that journaling in general has a variety of health and productivity benefits, such as:
- Understanding yourself better – it helps you identify bad habits and adopt good habits instead
- Improve problem solving – journaling uses more of a right-brain approach to solving problems versus the typical left-brain approach
- Reduce stress – stress hurts your health, mental state, and ability to stay focused
- Improves immune system – reducing stress and encouraging better habits helps make you healthier
While you can get these benefits with any form of journaling, future self journaling focuses more on self-betterment in the form of changing current habits and working toward the goals you want to achieve.
Often, you get derailed thanks to your brain’s natural desire for immediate gratification. If something seems too hard or unsatisfying, your instincts tell you to do something more fun or pleasurable instead. For instance, watching TV versus working when you’re working from home.
Future journaling helps you see the benefits you’ll get by procrastinating less and kicking bad habits. By seeing those benefits regularly, your mind starts to see delayed gratification as a good thing. This reduces the chance of you putting things off. Think of it as a way to retrain your brain to put future you before present you. After all, if you want to improve yourself, you have to focus on the future. Then, over time, you’ll become the future self you’ve been working toward and journaling about.
How to Get Started
Making yourself happy and living better could easily start with future self journaling. Some people swear by bullet journaling, which allows you to get more creative. However, any type of journal works. Just pick what feels right for you.
If you’re not used to journaling, schedule a time several times each week. You can build up to daily entries or just certain days per week. Consider using a reminder app to help you stay on track. For best results, use the following tips:
- Start each entry with gratitude – both currently and in the future.
- Write about one or two bad habits you want to change and what future you is doing instead.
- List the goals future you is either working on or has already achieved. (Break this into short term goals to help present you get started.)
- Skip the past and only focus on turning the present into the future.
- Write on a regular schedule.
You won’t magically see results in a day or a week. It takes time to reprogram yourself to let go of the past, get to know yourself, and see a better future for yourself. By constantly writing about that self-awareness and the better future you, you’ll start to change your mindset and habits. Before long, you’re accomplishing more each day by future self journaling, getting closer to your goals, and becoming a better version of yourself.