Inside: Learn how to use future-self journaling to gain perspective and clarity in your life.
It’s not exactly a secret that our minds can get cluttered with daily thoughts, worries, responsibilities, and that endless list of chores to take care of.
If you regularly find yourself feeling as though your brain has been clouded over by thoughts, chances are you may need to start looking for ways to get your power back and gain clarity over your own mind.
While there are tons of ways to do this, one of my favorite activities is journaling! The benefits of writing down our thoughts, feelings, and worries have been proven over and over to be a pretty powerful self-care tool, but what we rarely talk about is how journaling can instantly bring you back to the present and clarify your thoughts.
A different take on the process is instead of reflecting solely on your past, try writing to your future self. Future-self journaling can give you a new perspective as you envision how you’d like to see yourself and your life in the future.
How Future-Self Journaling Helps You Gain Perspective
Read on for eight ways that future-self journaling can help you gain perspective and have a positive impact on your life.
1. Future-self journaling helps you gain clarity
We live in such an incredibly busy world that it’s extremely easy to lose touch with where we currently stand in life. Taking a few minutes every day to write down our thoughts, experiences, and reflections is a pretty powerful way to bring ourselves fully into the present.
Take it one step further and think about the future. Consider where you’d like to be months or years from now.
A few journal entry ideas to achieve this can include:
- Where do I see myself in 1 month, 6 months, and one year? What do I need to do to get there?
- What am I grateful for?
- What’s something I have today that I dreamed of having 5 years ago? What is something I dream of having 5 years from now?
- One of my biggest goals is…?
- What’s something I’d like to be better at?
2. Journaling can be a powerful reminder of who you are
Throughout life, it’s easy to lose a sense of who we are, especially when we find ourselves undergoing a difficult situation or straying away from the path we’re meant to walk on.
It’s incredibly important to give ourselves a reminder of who we are, what we stand for, what our values are, what hurts us, and what brings us happiness.
By creating a habit out of journaling, you’ll also be keeping a written record of your daily thoughts, reflections, and experiences, which, in the long term, can actually become a powerful place to head back to and read whenever you start feeling as though you’ve lost touch with yourself.
Future-self journaling is also providing you a reminder of the things you’ve overcome that you can look back on to remind yourself that you can get through this.
3. Future-self journaling will help you appreciate how far you’ve come
Have you ever found yourself going through old childhood albums or “stalking” your own social media pictures from years ago and suddenly remembering what your life was back then?
As humans, we are constantly changing and improving, and because it happens so suddenly, we often forget to realize it’s even happening!
Keeping a written record of your dreams, goals, and wins can be a super powerful way to remind yourself (and feel grateful) for everything you’ve achieved throughout the seasons if you ever find yourself feeling nostalgic and reading your own entries from years ago.
Plus, as a bonus, realizing how our lives have changed or improved throughout time can also give you a newly-found sense of patience.
By realizing that powerful change is often a slow but consistent one, you may find yourself feeling inspired to work towards any new goals you may have but without pressuring yourself to give up if you don’t achieve them right away.
4. Future-self journaling will bring clarity to your future
We can’t always control every single aspect of our lives and we should definitely make room for unforeseen circumstances that may change our plans (I’m pretty sure we can all agree we learned that lesson during the pandemic).
With that in mind, having a sense of clarity of what we hope our future will look like is one of the most powerful ways to stay on track, even when difficult times arise.
While I’m sure we can all IMAGINE what we picture our ideal future to look like, there’s nothing quite like actually writing things down.
When you journal, you’ll start to organically also include thoughts on your hopes for the future here and there, which can very easily turn into clarity over your own wants and needs.
5. Future-self journaling will help you understand yourself better
Journaling on a regular basis is a great habit to include in your day-to-day life if you want to get a better sense of your feelings.
By writing down your daily thoughts, feelings, and reflections in a place you know only you have access to, you’ll start allowing yourself to become vulnerable thanks to the fact you’ll be freed from external influences.
By doing so, you’ll start to slowly get to know yourself better, which is an essential step in order to gain clarity over your life and uncover aspects of yourself you may not have realized were even there.
Be real with sharing your hopes, dreams, and goals for the future. Seeing them on paper may help to further motivate you to work towards them.
6. Journaling helps you de-stress
Journaling has been scientifically proven to reduce the amount of cortisol our bodies release, which makes it a great tool to help you kick stress to the curb.
Having go-to activities (in this case, journaling) to reduce stress levels is a surefire way to help us calm down, which is an essential step toward mental clarity.
While journaling as a stress-reduction tool doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, I highly encourage you to give it a try and see if it does the trick for you.
Imagining yourself in the future can help you to see past your current circumstances and challenges as you envision being in a better situation.
7. Journaling will help you remember random thoughts that would otherwise be forgotten
The average person has around 6,200 thoughts each and every single day. While many of them may be random opinions or reactions to situations we don’t really need to remember, some of the things we think throughout the day could actually be incredibly important information… if only we were able to remember it!
Think about it: How many times have you felt inspired by looking at something random on the street? How many times have you come up with a super cool business idea on your way to work? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably a lot!
When you start journaling on a regular basis, you’ll become better at remembering random thoughts and inspirations you had throughout the day.
By writing them down, you will be turning those intangible thoughts into real, actionable purposes. Who knows? Maybe actually writing down and remembering that awesome business idea you had today might inspire you to act on it!
Tip: You may want to start carrying a mini journal that fits in your purse everywhere you go to write down anything that pops to mind throughout the day that you feel is worthy of keeping.
8. Future-self journaling can make you more positive
Another benefit of future-self journaling is that it increases your awareness of your thoughts and feelings. As you become more aware of your unconscious thoughts, you can work to correct them where needed.
Writing to your future self can help you overcome a negative mindset. You can change the way you think by controlling the messages you allow into your mind.
Using phrases like ‘I am…’ and ‘I will…’ and choosing to come up with a positive end to those phrases will help train your brain to think more positively. We teach our minds how to process information by what we choose to feed it.
Practice thinking positive thoughts about the future and believe that you can be in a better place. Your actions follow your thoughts so believing it will happen will help make you more likely to achieve it.
What you think and believe matters. Use future-self journaling to help train your mind to be more positive and optimistic.
Have you tried future-self journaling? Share it in the comments section!
I hope this list of ways in which journaling can help you gain clarity over your mind inspired you to start doing it more often! Journaling is not only incredibly beneficial for many other things, but it’s also a very powerful tool to help us gain perspective and clarity.
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