It’s true. I haven’t written my 2011 Future Letter to Myself yet. As I’ve mentioned before, for the past five years I’ve written a letter to myself that explains what I’d like to accomplish each year– as if I’ve already fulfilled the intentions.
Normally the Future Letter is the thing that I look forward to the most come holiday season. Drafting the letter is as fun for me as opening gifts on Christmas morning. I plan for it, dream about what I want to include in the letter, and then anxiously await the fulfillment of the letter throughout the year. These future letters have been incredibly motivating and clarifying. I’ve found that on average I fulfill 80% of what I set out to do in the letter each year.
But this year, I didn’t look forward to the letter.
On Sunday afternoon, I was more determined than ever to finally complete this year’s intention letter. It has been on my to-do list for weeks, but I never actually accomplished the task. After all, I’m “Miss MML,” I should practice what I speak about. Or so I thought. I turned my “want to” into a “have to.”
In frustration, I stared at a blank word document wishing and willing myself to feel inspired about this year’s intention letter.
But nothing would come.
So I stepped back for a minute and questioned why I suddenly seemed to have lost the spark that used to get me so fired up. And suddenly I realized that over the past five years of writing these letters, I’ve become more and more closely aligned with the person I’d like to be. And this year, I have some level of confidence that I will continue on this path but don’t need any radical overhaul. The person I am now is largely the person I want to be throughout 2011. The things I want to do this year are mostly incorporated into my life already.
For the first time in writing these letters, I feel a sense of completeness about who I am. I don’t feel lacking in any major way. Though this may sound prideful, this really has shown me how far I’ve come in my life. You see, the first time that I wrote my future letter as a college junior, I was miserable and hated living with my own thoughts. I hated being me. And the letter I wrote that first year explained who I desperately wanted to become – though I had no confidence that I’d ever reach my goal. But over the last five years, I have in many profound ways evolved into the person I used to dream about. Though far from any sort of perfection, I like “me.”
Talk about DESIGN YOUR LIFE, right? It really can work.
While this revelation may sound incredible, enlightening, and euphoric, it brought about a deep uneasiness within me. Where do I go from here? How do I keep making progress in life without a lingering sense of dissatisfaction between who I am and who I want to be?
The answer lies in focus.
I have now realized that my focus has shifted. No longer do I need to put my priority on my own self-efficacy.
My new focus is: my impact on others.
Every step I’ve taken to become more proactive has led me to my next purpose, to positively impact other people. My future letter now needs to reflect this new aim.
So my intention letter for 2011 will dwell on what kind of impact I want to have on the people around me: my friends, family, co-workers (Susie, Melissa, and Kat), customers, MML readers, and even Mr. Lively. Sure, I’ll also think about what things I need to do in my own life to continue to be happy and healthy, but those goals are now also a means to an impact-full end.
And that is something worth writing about.