Not sure if you’re staying on track with your career goals? Wondering if you’ve been moving in the right direction with your creative pursuits? Calm your fears of the future with some good old-fashioned time travel and try this creative exercise.
If you haven’t heard, the website FutureMe allows you to write a letter to yourself and set it to be emailed to you at whatever date you choose—days, weeks, months or even years into the future.
For the purpose of sticking to any career-related goals that you have set out for yourself, you could list and describe them in the letter and have that letter sent to you one month later to make sure you are working on (or already accomplished) what you intended.
When I first discovered this website, I sent a letter to myself to be delivered after one month. I wasn’t patient enough to wait any longer to see how much I had changed, and more importantly, how much progress I had made with my goals. Unfortunately, even one month was probably too long to wait.
“It is being delivered from the past…” says the email intro before your old letter begins below.
As I read my email from days of yore, I found that my personal problems and obstacles from a month ago had dissipated simply by the passage of time. Not too surprising there.
However, my goals that I had listed rapidly weren’t exactly complete. Even the way I had written about my goals was “I hope you’ve finished X and Y by now…” Hoping for a goal to be complete isn’t exactly a clearly laid out plan—and a month later, it had resulted in minimal progress.
Let this be a lesson to all who wish to greet their past selves with a brighter future.
Before you write your letter, decide on which goals you are going to work on and how much time it should take to accomplish them. If it’s a far-reaching goal and might take an entire year, try to divide the goal into mini goals, and send yourself a monthly or biweekly letter to check in. Use each letter to your future self as a progress report to stay on track.
But you can also use the letters to discover patterns in your thoughts and feelings about your work. Write a letter today that not only details your goals but also explains how you are feeling about your work, your freelance business, the vision you have for your career. When you get your letter in a month or two, your career ideas and visions may have changed dramatically—and this can be a strong indicator of what steps you should take next.
In case you want or need to have someone else verify your progress, you can also send a letter to the future version of a friend–as long you are a registered user on the website. And if you’re really feeling bold, you can allow your letter to be anonymously but publicly posted.
Obviously, you could be keeping track of your goals in a very serious and meticulous manner, like in a spreadsheet, but what kind of fun is that? Instead, try envisioning your ideal future self, and write that future self a letter. After all, everyone loves mail—and there’s no time like the present to write about the future.