Thursday, September 27, 2012

The future you

I'm a list-maker. A goal setter. Yet I rarely make 5 Year Plan kind of goals. Or even two year plans. I don't know why-- maybe because a lot of my goals have elements that are out of my control. Maybe because I want flexibility. I mean who doesn't want the ability to change their minds without feeling like they failed at goals? Or, you know, maybe it's just because I didn't get around to moving those goals from my head to paper.

Do you write long term goals?

I was reading Delia Moran's blog the other day, and she wrote a post about writing a letter to her future self. You see, there's an awesome website called FutureMe.org that lets you write an email to yourself, then choose the date you'd like it emailed to you.

I don't know about you, but that sounds BRILLIANT. So I did it! The anti-long-term-goal-setting me wrote a letter to myself, and it'll show up in my email in two years from now. I told myself what I was struggling with right now (balancing, priorities), and asked myself if I've figured that out yet. I reminded myself what point I'm at with my writing right now, and asked myself if I'd gotten to the point I hope I'll be at in two years. And I asked myself if the book I'm writing still has the same title. Because, hey-- I'm curious. And yes, I asked if I had met those goals I had set.

The best part about it is, two years from now I'm not going to remember that I did it, so it'll be like a present in my inbox!

You should try it. You can schedule the letter to come to you anytime up until the year 2060. If you just haven't gotten around to writing out those goals, you can take this easier route. The less I'm-going-to-feel-like-I-stink-at-meeting-my-goals-if-I-change-my-mind way. You can just ask yourself if you're where you thought you'd be. Or tell yourself where you are right now so you can see how far you've come later. Or say where you think you'll be, so you can laugh at how naive / brilliant / arrogant / spot-on your past self was. And what's better than laughing at your past self?

21 comments:

Donna K. Weaver said...

What an interesting idea. Just make sure you have your email account set up so that if you get hacked you've got options for verifying things when you shut your account down. That happened to my hubby and because his alternate account was an old one (I mean like 10 years or more since he'd used it) that they wouldn't give him back the account. Easy enough to create a new email account, but he lost all his contacts.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

This is interesting. I'm seriously going to think about this one.

Angela Cothran said...

That is pretty cool :) I'm always amazed at when I look back on my life because there is no way I could have imagined where I am today. I know where I want to be in 5 years, but my goals are always more spiritual than secular.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I am a definite life pantster. Planning too far ahead gives me panic attacks.

Z said...

When I graduated from HS, they had us write down our five and ten year plans, goals, dreams, etc. I took the assignment seriously, but not 6 months after graduation I found myself taking a COMPLETELY different path. Okay, not so completely that I moved to a different state and changed my name or anything, but...you get what I mean. Now, 8 years after graduation, I look back on my goals/plans and while I accomplished some of them, others I'm SO glad I didn't! I like where life has led me! It's different than where I thought I'd be, but I love it.

I like the idea of writing a letter to myself and getting it in the mail later on, though. It would make an interesting study in personality and personal progress.

My hubby's family does something similar - for the bachelor party, they write a bunch of letters to the groom (and by a bunch, I mean a lot), and then my FIL hangs on to them and the groom gets a packet of letters one month into marriage, six months into marriage, one year into marriage, five years, and ten years in. These letters come from dads and brothers and grandpas, and they're wonderful to read. I've really enjoyed getting them and reading them with hubby.

S.P. Bowers said...

I'm not a long term goal setter either. Once I wrote a letter to myself at 18 and stuck it in my journal. It sat there for about five years and I had such a good time reading it when I turned 18. I dont' know if it would be the same now though, since so much of what and who I am is dependent on others in a way that I wasn't back as a teenager. How's that for convoluted sentences?

Delia Moran said...

Isn't it fun? Even if you're not a goal-setter, it's so cool to get a little time capsule from yourself. I hope you've either met all your goals, or gone in a direction that you weren't expecting, but turned out to be better. :)

Joshua said...

I've spent the last 45 seconds watching that moving image. This is my brain today.

Rob Z Tobor said...

I don't suppose you happen to know a web site where I can read the letter I write in two years time, I feel this would be really useful.

As for lists I do not write any, I did once but found putting things on a list tended to be the kiss of death.

Paul Tobin said...

I did this years ago, when I was elected President of the Student Union, a paid post, my campaign manager advised me to write three letters, one to open at Christmas, one at Spring and the final as I left post. I did this and apart from thinking they were quite naive I had achieved most of the aims by the end of my term. It was an interesting exercise.

Annalisa Crawford said...

What a great idea. I've got my long term goal sorted, but it depends a lot on shorter stepping-stone goals that I struggle to start, let alone achieve. I even have a date when I want my goal to be achieved... I feel like I'm setting myself up for a fall, but on the other hand... :-)

Caryn Caldwell said...

Thank you for reminding me about Future Me! I've heard wonderful things about it, and every time someone mentions it I think, I have to do that! But do I? No. Not yet.

Good luck with meeting all of your goals for the next two years. I hope that by the time you read the letter, you've actually gone far beyond what you wanted. :-)

E.D. said...

It does sound like a great idea - I think I am going to try it too.
I write lists all the time and have lists for my lists, although many of the lists stay inside my head and I actually visualize them as lists on paper.... But anyway, I also do not make long-term plans and lists thereof, or very vague ones, if any. Why? To stay flexible, and simply because in most cases I just don't really know what I want - always looking at the opportunity cost of making one decision over another...

Jeigh said...

What a cool idea! I will have to give more thought to where I'd like to be in two years and send myself an email.

Susan Kane said...

What a great idea! I wonder now what I will say to myself...

Amanda Olivieri said...

Oh, my, gosh. This is the coolest thing ever! I'm a complete dork and actually did write a letter to my future self about a year and a half ago! It was meant to be opened in five years, but the problem is that I'll probably forget all about it and find it either way sooner or way later. So that website is PERFECT. I'm totally going to send my future self an email!

Iain said...

I take it you gave up on building your time machine ;o)
I'm a bit rubbish at making plans for tomorrow, let alone anything longer term.
I think I might give this a go and see what comes up :o)
(Won't 2 years time be just after your 2nd book comes out?)

Rachelle said...

That is a fantastic idea. I did something similar in junior high/high school and it was really interesting/funny to read those letters! Thanks for sharing the site.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

What a cool idea!

Rebecca Barrow said...

An email to my future self? Hmm, sounds interesting...I hope I won't open it five years from now and have achieved nothing! Maybe I'll just write myself something funny and sunny so that I can have a little laugh at myself one day :)

Nicole said...

Ha - that's an awesome idea!!