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Most people who are unhappy with the way their lives are going will look for ways to improve things.
With a little research, many have discovered ways to improve their lives that have enabled them to enjoy greater overall happiness… as well as help them to more easily achieve their life goals.
One very effective way for people to improve their lives is through the practice of future self journaling.
What is Future Self Journaling?
Future self journaling is a practice in which you create a written journal regarding how you would like yourself to be in the future.
Before getting started, find an attractive journal and start writing down everything in your life that you’re grateful for already having accomplished.
Next, write down what bad habits you’d like to change that you think might be preventing you from becoming the person you want to be.
Finally, write down how you’d like your life to be in the future.
A future self journal is very similar to maintaining a regular journal, but the big difference is that you will fully focus on your future… as opposed to the present. It’s long term.
For instance, a typical entry will focus on how you imagine your future will be. By writing down how you imagine and desire your future, you can actually make it come true.
You will unconsciously and consciously work harder to ensure your future becomes what you write in the future self journal.
Benefits of Future Self Journaling
We can gain many benefits from practicing future self journaling. Here is an overview of some of these marvelous benefits that can really enrich our lives.
Improved decision-making – Future self journaling can help you to realize how smart decision-making can help you build a better future.
For instance, if you’d like to lose 100 pounds, deciding to eat a serving of applesauce for dessert instead of a piece of chocolate cake will help you get closer to your future goals
Improved problem-solving skills – By writing down your plans for the future in your journal, your problem-solving skills can improve because you can more easily visualize ways to overcome obstacles that may arise when it comes to building your ideal future
Reduction in stress and depression – Sometimes when we dread the future because our lives aren’t currently going as we’d like, we can become stressed and even depressed.
Future self journaling is similar to writing a plan for your future, so as you plan out your future and actually see it written down on paper, you can anticipate your future improving, which increases your happiness and reduces stress and depression
Increased self-confidence – By regularly creating entries in your journal, you can refer to earlier entries and see the progress you’ve made towards changing your life for the best, which can dramatically increase self-confidence, and make you proud
Other Types of Journaling
While future self journaling is a very popular and effective way to change oneself, there are other types of journaling that we can utilize to improve our lives.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a very therapeutic way to improve your life. It entails writing about what we’re grateful for on a daily basis, regardless of how small it may be. One day an entry could focus on how you were grateful for a sunny and warm morning, which enabled you to complete your morning run.
Another example of something that you might write about being grateful for is the blooming rosebush in your backyard… or the unexpected rain that watered your garden when you were unable to.
There are many other types of journals that people keep, as well.
Dream journals, travel journals, therapeutic journals are other examples.
As long as you’re consistent, any type of journal that you might decide to participate in while keeping a future self journal can bring many benefits.
However, it’s a good idea to focus on future self journaling first, or somehow incorporate other types of journaling in with the future self journaling, so you won’t become too overwhelmed.
Steps to Successful Future Self-Journaling
Now that we’ve learned about future self journaling and its benefits, it’s time to implement a plan to start planning your improved future.
Here are 15 important steps to follow so your future self journaling practice can be a true success:
1. Try to journal as often as possible.
If you fail to journal on a regular basis, you won’t reap the benefits of practicing future self journaling.
While it’s ideal to write in your journal daily, you might miss a few days here or there in the beginning. But in order for this practice to be as effective as possible, daily entries are important.
2. Your entries should include all your goals.
A series of short-term and long-term goals will help you to become the person you desire in the future.
That is why it’s important for you to create a full list of goals, both short-term and long-term ones. You’ll see quicker progress with the shorter-term goals, which will motivate you to work hard towards achieving the long-term goals.
3. Focus on what you can control.
Unfortunately, we can’t control everything in our lives. In fact, there’s quite a bit that we can’t control. However, there are many things that we can control, and that’s what you need to focus on when making entries in your journal.
Don’t waste time dwelling on things you can’t control, as it can prevent you from making progress at the rate that you desire.
4. Be patient.
When you start practicing future self journaling, you’re likely to want instant gratification, as we all do with everything we do. However, patience is necessary, because you definitely won’t see huge changes right away.
This process takes time, but don’t get discouraged. You will notice small changes, and many small changes will equal big changes in the future, so watch out for them!
5. Create helpful templates.
It can sometimes be difficult to come up with things to write about each day, but creating templates with helpful writing prompts on them can help you out immensely.
You can also find writing prompts online that can help you create some amazing and very productive journal entries so you won’t feel like you’re writing the same material every day.
Here are some creative templates you can use or take some inspiration from:
6. Always include a “Plan B” in your journal entries.
We all know that life doesn’t always go exactly as we plan, so you don’t want to set yourself up for failure or disappointment if unexpected occurrences arise that change your plans for building your ideal future.
For instance, if you never thought you’d meet your soul mate, get married and have children… but do, you will definitely have to change how you go about building your future.
That is why it’s important to include alternate plans when writing out your future so you won’t feel stuck, disappointed, discouraged, or lose motivation.
7. Begin each entry with what you’re grateful for.
By focusing on gratitude in each of your journal entries, you increase your level of positivity, and you can better appreciate things in your life that you may have taken for granted in the past.
This will make it easier for you to focus on what will make your future self feel grateful, so you can create amazing entries in your journal.
8. Write about your bad habits.
Your future self journaling experience will help you to break the bad habits that could prevent you from creating your ideal future.
However, you want to focus on one bad habit at a time, so as not to overwhelm yourself. If you bombard yourself with too many changes at once, your plan could backfire.
9. Don’t expect perfection.
None of us are perfect, so while treading along on your future self journaling journey, be sure not to create goals and plans that are unattainable.
If you do and you fail to meet these goals, which you likely will, you will be so disheartened that you will wrongly believe that this type of journaling doesn’t work.
That is not true, as long as you realize that none of us are ever going to achieve absolute perfection, so we should never strive to. Setting realistic goals will make them more attainable, increasing your overall results.
10. Create motivating daily entries.
By creating motivating daily entries in your journal, you keep things fun, inspiring, and exciting.
You could develop positive aspirations that you plan on repeating throughout the day, or even create post-it notes with these positive aspirations on them to help you work towards the wonderful future that you’re striving for. This can help you achieve your goals faster.
11. Create a daily mantra to focus on in your journal.
A mantra can be anything from a positive quote you may have heard, an inspiring verse in a poem or something similar.
You can focus on the same mantra when writing your entries, or you can create a new one each day. Whatever works for you is fine.
12. Create entries focusing on the emotions your future self will experience.
By journaling how you desire yourself to feel in the future, you increase the chances of making it come true by following the steps necessary to make it happen.
13. Write instead of type your journal entries.
Although it’s acceptable to type your entries if you absolutely must, studies have shown that handwritten entries are more effective, as our brains process handwritten material differently than typed. You might see quicker results if you handwrite yours.
14. Try to journal at the same time each day.
There is no particular time of day that is better for journaling, and each person is different. If you find that you have more quiet time before bed, choose this time to make your daily journal entries.
By journaling at the same time each day, you increase your chances of remembering to actually journal, as well as creating a habit of journaling, which is what you need to do in order to create your ideal future self.
15. Don’t make skipping a day to create an entry a habit.
While skipping a day here and there when it comes to creating new entries in your journal is fine, expected and shouldn’t cause any problems, don’t make skipping a day a habit.
If you continue to skip days, especially consecutive days, you lose momentum and motivation. You might eventually even quit journaling, which is not what you want, especially if you’ve been journaling for a while and seeing results.
Final Thoughts on Future Self Journaling
As you can see, future self journaling can be a life-changing practice that can help you to map out your future by writing down plans, desires, goals, and more.
This can help you to achieve goals that never would have been possible without this therapeutic technique that has helped so many others.
As with any new practice, it may be difficult to make a habit of writing entries in your future self journal on a daily basis, but the more progress you notice, the more motivated you’ll be to continue with this practice.
And if you’re looking for some inspiration, check out these journaling prompts:
Finally, if you want to increase your happiness and life satisfaction, then watch this free video that details the 7-minute habit for planning your day to focus on what’s important.