A Letter To Your Future Self Is More Useful Than Time Travel

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If you’re going through a hard time, do you ever wish you could skip over the healing, the processing, and the being sad – and instead time travel into the future?

Part of you knows you won’t always feel this way. But you’re tired of being in the here and now. It’s a dark place. You’re sick of it. And you wish you could get a glimpse into the future, where you’ve healed and moved on.

Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. We don’t have the luxury of time turners here in the Muggle world. The only way out, is through.

However, writing a letter to your future self can serve as a light at the end of the tunnel. While you’re still stuck in the tunnel.

And it’s probably the closest to time travel that you’re going to get. Not only will you be visiting your future-self for a short period, but that “future version of you” will get a visit from the “present you.” Which in the future, will be “you-from-the-past!”

Forgive me if this is getting too “Interstellar.” Let’s get into why and how you can Write A Letter To Your Future Self, (which I am officially dubbing as A Time Turner For Muggles).

Why Is Writing A Letter To Your Future Self Better Than Time Travel?

You Make Time Instead Of Bypass It

So many of us never have enough time. We go through our days busy and overwhelmed. You probably don’t get the chance to pause for a moment and sort through all of your tangled thoughts and worries (unless you’re in therapy).

Writing a letter to your future self forces you to create time for yourself. To pause. And to better organize everything going on in your mind.

A moment to check in with where you are right now.

Traveling to the future would take more of your time away and keep you in that avoidance cycle of frenzy and overwhelm. But writing a letter to yourself gives you extra time and space to explore your inner world in the present moment.

And yes, I know that technically in Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione did give herself more time with her time turner. But it was extra time she needed to go-go-go, which made her feel even more exhausted and burnt out!

When you write a letter to yourself, the time you create is more about slowing down than rushing to get more done.

It’ll Have A Positive Effect On Your Present Behaviors

One of the most important benefits of writing a letter to your future self is intention-setting.

Note, I didn’t say “goal-setting.” Of course, there is nothing wrong with having goals. You’re welcome to mention them in your letter to your future self.

But when I think of a goal, I think of a hard line in the sand – either you reach it or you don’t.

When I think of an intention, it’s less about that final destination and more about your day-to-day experience. It’s more about your relationship with yourself. Here are some examples

  • Goal: Work Out 3x/week.
  • Intention: Take care of my body.
  • Goal: Start dating again.
  • Intention: Try to keep an open mind while meeting new people.
  • Goal: Get a new job.
  • Intention: Find moments of joy and peace while at work.

So I’d like to encourage you to try taking a more compassionate approach if you write a letter to yourself, by setting intentions too.

Remember, it isn’t time that heals all wounds, it’s intention.

You’ll Be Giving Yourself A Gift

Sure, traveling through time sounds kind of fun… (okay, it sounds really fun if I’m being honest!)

But writing a letter to yourself is a true gift you can give yourself.

You’re giving yourself the gift of self-compassion. Of good advice. The gift of hope! Or the gift of memories from a moment in time.

Plus it’s always fun to receive and open something. And when you gift something like this to yourself, it can serve as an act of self-love.

How To Write a Letter To Your Future Self

Choose a Timeframe

Before you write your letter, choose the amount of time you want to wait before you open it. It could be 6 months, a year, 5 years.

Or, you could choose to open it by a certain event, like your wedding, or a once you start a new job. The choice is yours!

Choose A Sending Method

E-mail

I have some very exciting news! Through gmail, you can write your letter in an email, choose to send it at a later time, and just pick a date for it to be sent. Then, in a few months/weeks/years, that email will get delivered to your inbox. The power of technology!

There are also plenty of websites that can send the letter for you. Futureme.org is a great resource that allows you to type up your letter online, and they’ll send it back when you want. There is a free option, or a $3 suggested donation to support their organization.

Snail Mail

Services exist out there that send your letter back to you, in the actual mail. For about $8, Lettertoyourself.com will mail your letter to you on the date you want to receive it.

You can also ask a very organized and trusted friend or loved one to do it for you.

Or, you could write yourself the letter, store it somewhere safe, and set a date in your calendar to send it. If you don’t care about getting it in the mail, just open it on the spot.

Journal

At the time of me writing this post, I am in my journaling era. I am absolutely obsessed with my Hobinichi Cousin (IYKYK). It has binding that allows me to paste papers and other things into it without it getting too bulky. And, it doubles as a planner!

So I am going to write a letter to myself, put it in an envelope and glue it to a page towards the end of the year. Then I’ll have that gift to open right there when the day comes.

If you journal, you can do the same. Write your letter and paste it towards the back, so when you get to that page, you’ll have something nice to open.

Choose What To Write In Your Letter

When you write a letter to your future self, you can write about whatever you want. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Current Musings On Life

Try using your stream of consciousness to share with your future self whatever is going on in your life currently. Then when you open the letter you can look back on this time and remember moments that may have slipped your mind, or how much things have changed.

Intentions

You can also set some intentions for your future self. Share what kind of experiences you hope to have by the time you read the letter again.

Perhaps you have hope about the way you want to feel, or the things you want to accomplish.  Let that future version of you know you’re rooting for them.

Wildest Dreams

There is something so fun, and often powerful, about dreaming up the most magical version of your life possible.

When you allow yourself to dream big, you plant a seed that may have never existed otherwise. So if you’re willing to get a little adventurous, try writing about your wildest dreams for your future.

Even if they don’t end up happening, who knows what that will spark inside of you.

Go Micro or Macro

You can choose to focus on one area (like work, or relationships, or mental health). Or give a holistic overview of what areas are most important. Here are some categories to think about addressing in your letter (I’ve listed a lot – I’d choose up to 5 tops to keep it doable!).

  • Work
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Romance
  • Mental Health
  • Emotions
  • Specific Situations
  • Self-Care Practices
  • Social Life
  • Energy
  • Hobbies
  • Financial Habits

Letter To Your Future Self Template

If you prefer more structure, download my free Letter To Your Future Self Template here. If you have any questions, you’re welcome to reach out.

Have you ever written a letter to your future self? How did it go? Please feel free to leave a comment, and if you enjoyed this article, like and share it with whoever you think may benefit.

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Hi! I'm Paige

therapist williamsburg brooklyn

I’m a Licensed Psychotherapist based in NYC. 

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