Future Me Letter Gary Wood

Future Me Letter Gary Wood has developed a motivational technique called “Future Me.” You write a letter to yourself in the future. You give yourself thoughtful advice and encouragement like you would to a good friend. We learned about self-fulfilling prophecies in this chapter—the Galatea effect—in which a person sets high expectations for themselves and then their performance meets these expectations. In a sense, writing a letter to your future self is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

(Steps 4 & 5 are optional but highly encourage for your own benefit)

Here are the steps: 1. Start by outlining some ideas of how you want things to be in your life in 6 months. According to Wood, 6 months should allow you to focus on medium-term goals and goals that are not so ambitious that they can’t be attained in a reasonable amount of time.

2. Recall the properties of SMART goals. Write out specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-based statements (for the 6-month time frame).

3. Write the letter to yourself. Be realistic, and give yourself sound advice and encouragement on how great it is that you reached your goals. For example, this can be tangible like landing a new job if you are 6 months from graduation. Your goals might also be more intangible such as increasing your emotional intelligence (EQ).

4. Print the letter. Place the letter in an envelope and seal it. Write your name on the envelope and the date 6 months from when you wrote it. Put it in a safe place. You may want to put a reminder in your calendar to open the letter.

5. When you open the letter, reflect on your achievements, personal learning, and growth over the 6 months. If you reached any of your goals, give yourself positive feedback and add a reward (a nice dinner out or a trip to the mall to get that jacket you have been wanting). For things you may not have attained, reflect on why and set new goals. If this is important to you, remember the concept of “grit.” Stick with it!

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