future letter to yourself: 2012


Okay ladies and gentleman, the time for Future Letters to Ourselves has arrived! Though you can see a full explanation of the Future Letter concept here, I will quickly do a recap of the exercise.

Back in 2006, I was in a not-so-great place in my life and found a dusty copy of (wait for it…) The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Though I’ve mentioned this book 1,027 times here on MML it bears repeating. The teen version of the book suggested writing a letter to oneself from the vantage point of one year into future. So I decided on January 1st, 2006 to try out the exercise. I outlined what I wanted to do, be like, and even look like on January 1st, 2007. The important part of the exercise was that I wrote the letter from the 2007 version of myself as if I had already accomplished my 2006 goals. Writing my goals in past-tense was strange at first. In fact, I honestly didn’t think I was even capable of doing most of the things in the letter.

Fast forward to 2007 – when I re-read the letter, I was astounded to find that I accomplished 83% of what I said I would do.

Since that year, I have faithfully written a Future Letter to Myself every January. I generally start thinking about things I’d like to include in the letter the weeks leading up to January, which of course is why I’m sharing this right now on MML instead of January 1st.

As I’ve mentioned in the past:

Over the last five seven years, I have found that I can in large part, predict or complete much of what I set forth in these visions. I also know that some of my intentions will not happen. And after seeing the turn of events with Jess LC this year and the growth of MakeunderMyLife, I now submit this vision with a disclaimer: If any of these statements are not meant to come true, please help me to be flexible and thankful for the other awesome blessings that will come in their place.

Here’s How to Write an Annual Letter

Though there certainly is no wrong way to write an annual letter, I can share how I prefer to write my own. I begin each letter with “Dear Jess, As I see myself walk into the door in 2012, I see a ___________. ” Then I talk about what I have done in 2011 in past tense. For example: “I have decorated my bedroom with crisp bedding, nice side tables, and pretty, modern lamps.” or “I am kind and compassionate, not just with other people, but also towards my own shortcomings.” I also try to describe what I have done in all of my roles, such as: personal growth, Jess LC, MakeunderMyLife, spirituality, and relationships.

After the letter is written, I keep it in a place where I can find it easily, but only try to reread it every few months. Two years ago I tried to read it frequently but found that it was more stressful than inspirational. As the saying goes, we overestimate what we can do in a day, but underestimate what we can do in a year.

In closing

I’ll be back in January to share some of my 2012 intentions. In the meantime, I encourage you to consider writing your own future letter and emailing it to yourself a few times next year with futureme.org.

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. karla

    i will totally do this! so i shoud include what i have accomplished and what i will?

  2. Nikell

    This is a great idea! It’s a different approach to the whole resolution thing. Thanks for sharing. I might try this out (^_^)

  3. Kristin

    I always thought this was such an interesting idea when you’ve written about it before, and I think this will be the perfect year for my to give it a try myself! I’ve heard futureme.org is a really cool site, too – going to check it out. Looking forward to seeing your intentions for next year! Thanks for all the work you put in to make MML such a lovely and inspiring thing 🙂

    Happy New Year! (almost)


  4. Blair

    What a fabulous idea! I’m about to make a big move and expect a lot of transitions from friends to work and much more I’m sure. Thanks for the idea 🙂 Blair

  5. Joby

    What a fantastic idea! I am definitely going to encourage my huband to do this with me. Thanks.

  6. Laura Gaskill

    I am definitely doing this again this year – I love it! P.S., I put together a little freebie printable pack that includes a new year intentions journaling page + a blank “letter to future me”, inspired by your tradition, Jess 🙂 Here is the link in case you or others want to check it out as you are thinking about new year intentions this weekend: http://www.lolalina.com/2011/12/30/a-new-years-treat-free-printables/
    xo Laura

  7. Kelley

    I did it! I sent an intentions letter to my future self. Thanks for the inspiration!

  8. Rebecca

    I love this! I just did it and it was exactly what I needed to start the new year right! I can’t wait to see how far I’ve come in 2013! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Eileen

    Oh my goodness. I’ve been saying to myself lately how much I’m looking forward to seeing what I accomplish in this next year. This is so perfect today! I’m going to write that letter to myself. Happy New Year, Jess! 🙂

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