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Published on June 26, 2019

How to Talk to Your Future Self to Change Your Life

How to Talk to Your Future Self to Change Your Life

When I was seventeen, I wrote a heartfelt letter to myself to open on my eighteenth birthday. I recapped the events that unfolded during the year; the relationships I have strengthened, the friendships that have fallen out, the things I have come to accept and then the struggle of letting things go. I wrote down the fears and excitement of starting university, and how I thought things would unfold in the year to come.

I’ve carried this tradition every year since then. Some years the letters were five pages long; other times, they were three paragraphs. What doesn’t change is the hope that ends in every letter.

“I hope you have found what you were looking for.”

“I hope you crossed off things in your bucket list.”

“I hope this year was much better for you.”

The letters were always kind and loving, and it made me realize all the ways I didn’t talk to myself the other days of the year. Most times, I was cruel, unkind, and hard on myself.

We have daily conversations with ourselves, and it’s about becoming aware of those conversations and how to talk to your future self to change your life.

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1. Use Writing as a Tool

Writing is an underrated tool. There’s a shift in power when you write things down, and also a way to purging your stream of consciousness.

We accumulate so many thoughts from the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep. Sometimes these thoughts turn into pent up frustrations or emotions that carry on to the next morning.

Here are some ways to use writing as a tool as a way to carry healthy conversations with your future self:

Write Letters to Your Future Self

Writing a letter to your future self is a way to paint and imagine the life you want. You fill these letters with hopes, dreams, and goals that you want to achieve. In order to do this, you must first let go of any restrictions you are facing in the present and truly believe the sky is the limit. This is a chance to look at your future self and determine who that person is.

The letter can be written to be opened in five years, a year, or even in a “case of emergency” – during those moments when you need a little reminder.

Remember to be honest and don’t hold back.

Write a Letter from Your Past-Self

I once asked myself, “What Would My Thirteen-Year-Old Self Say to Me Now?[1]” It was a chance to switch perceptions go back to the moment I was most hopeful for my future. It was the moment when every dream was reachable and nothing in life was going to stop me from living my best life.

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Sometimes, we need to go back to that inner child and look at the world from rose colored lenses. The older we become, the easier we let our own reality dictate your dreams and even take the steering wheel.

Write a letter to yourself from that inner child that still exists within you – that child who don’t want you to give up.

Write a List of Books and Authors You like Now

Keep a list of all your favorite passages from books and words of wisdom from your go-to authors. There’s a reason why we are drawn to certain texts, books, and worlds found between the pages. Let this list unleash your creativity and stir different emotions from within.

Need some inspiration? Here is a list of 10 Best Inspirational Books That Can Change Your Life.

2. Find These 3 Types of People

A wise man had once told me to always have these 3 types of people in my life – a mentor, a colleague, and a mentee.

Find a Mentor

Having a great mentor can impact your life and your future self in unimaginable ways. But before you start your journey to finding a mentor, you must first get clear on what your goals are and what a good mentor looks like. It doesn’t only come down to the chemistry of the relationship, but also sharing personal values and finding someone willing to teach and offer you advice.

Find someone who is living the lifestyle you want and have accomplished the goals you want to achieve.

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Find a Colleague

In addition to a mentor, you must have someone who is walking alongside with you on your journey; this person can be someone you can relate to, someone who is facing the same difficulties, or someone who shares a similar vision. Where would Harry Potter be without his friends Hermione and Ron? Would high school have been bareable if Cory Matthews didn’t have Shawn or Topanga?

Life isn’t meant to go about alone but in the company of others. Find a partner or a group who will push you and help you navigate the triumphs and trials of your journey.

Find a Mentee

Learning is a two-way street, and there is always an opportunity to learn from others – even from those who may be much younger or less experienced. Having a mentee is just as important as having a mentor and a colleague.

What is the point of carrying all the information in the world if there is no one to pass the knowledge to? By becoming a mentor yourself, you have the opportunity to see certain situations or circumstances from a different perspective. You learn to be compassionate by listening and supporting, all which can help you change the way you speak to your future self.

3. Role Play

Switch to a different role you play and you may perceive things differently.

Ask Yourself: What Would Your Future Self Do?

Our actions today matter and affect how we will be tomorrow and the day after. Ask yourself what your future self would do on a typical Tuesday? Here are some promoting questions:

  • What did you have for breakfast this morning?
  • Where are you working, and how do you feel about it?
  • What book did you finish reading?
  • What shampoo and conditioner are you using?

The little things like visualizing a shampoo brand or a book can help you paint a clearer picture while adding in a bit of character. By doing this, this visualization for yourself starts to feel more real.

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Role Play as Your Archetype

If you haven’t yet taken the 16 Personalities test, now may be a great time to. The test is composed of several questions that determine your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Once the test is completed it will show you which of the 16 archetypes you may be based on your answers – Extrovert/Introvert, Sensors/Intuitives, Thinkers/Feelers, Judgers/Perceivers.

For example, I am an ENFP, also known as the Campaigner. I also share the same archetype as Robert Downey Jr. and Will Smith – two actors I admire for their quick wit and vibrant energy. One way to talk to your future self is looking deeper into your archetype and see if these qualities resonate with you. Then ask yourself, how you are currently portraying this archetype and what qualities do you admire in those who also share your archetype.

The Bottom Line

The way you speak to yourself now is so vital to who you become in the future. As our own being, we play different roles – we have to be our own cheerleader when we hit certain walls, we have to play our own parent to take care of our physical and emotional well-being, and we even play the role as our own lover as we learn to love ourselves completely.

As we switch from role to role, it may get taxing and our conversations may turn negative. Sometimes those negative and harsh conversations never leave.

By finding a mentor to have as guidance, visualizing the ideal version of the future you, and even writing letters from different perspectives are all ways you can learn to change the current conversations you carry with yourself.

More About Living Your Best Life

Featured photo credit: Eliot J. via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Akina Chargualaf

Akina Chargualaf is an entrepreneur, writer, and the content creator of travel and personal development blog Finding Fifth.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

How to Make Changes in Life To Be The Best Version of You

Let’s start with the problem:

You get back from work. You’re tired. It was a long day. You know there’s things you could do, to get out of the rut you’re in.

But, let’s be honest. You really would rather relax, sit down and chill for a bit. Grab a snack. Watch your favourite show.

By the time you’ve done that, the day’s over. There’s just not enough time. To make this worse – you don’t have the energy or willpower to make changes in your life today.

So where do you go from there?

What you need are some easy to apply actions that are proven to work.

This article is going to give you 4 steps on how to make changes in life so you can follow today and get closer to success – even when you are feeling tired and lazy.

These steps have proven to work for me, and many of the coaching clients I work with privately.

1. Squash Inconsistency by Giving up Motivation

Now most people, when they want to make changes to their lives, focus on making lengthy to-do lists and plans. They think over and over again about what is going wrong, what is going well and what they want, etc.

All in a bid to push themselves to getting more motivated.

Guess what? This isn’t going to work.

Willpower and motivation are feelings. Feelings are vague and unreliable.

Instead, what you should do is focus on putting your flawed unpredictable self in the best possible environments.

If you do one thing first from this list, it’s THIS:

Find and go to the best possible environment for the area of your life you want to change.

For example:

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  • If you want to get fit, make your first goal to show up at the gym three times a week.
  • If you want to find a new relationship, show up to a meet up in your city for single people.
  • If you want to be productive and make your business idea work, don’t work at home, go to a co working space nearby.

The reason people fail to become the best version of themselves is because they underestimate the power of environments to influence behavior.

Accept that you are flawed, prone to distractions and your motivation and willpower will fail you.

The best hack at your disposal? Show up to “change inducing” environments and get out of your comfort zone (physically)!

OK. Next step.

2. Recruit an Elite Team to Help You (For Free)

Open up any social media platform you’re active on that contains some positive connections you have.

Send this message to one person you already know and trust ton help you make changes to your life:

“Hey [first name]. Can I be really frank and honest with you? I’m having one of those – ‘OMG I NEED TO MAKE CHANGES TO MY LIFE!’ moments.

And I was browsing the internet, looking for tips and this article I came across suggested accountability. So here I am, messaging you to be part of my accountability system.

My ask is simple.

Can we sit together once a week at [x place] but do absolutely no socializing? I’ll buy the [coffee/food] and it will be a space to force me to do [x thing]. You literally have to do nothing other than eat the free coffee/food I pay for lol. But it will keep my accountability high, which is what I need.

What you reckon? Can you help? Thanks!”

Now obviously, change the language to suit you but you get the idea.

Not only are you going to environments that will help you make changes, but by bringing a friend (or two), you make it even likelier that you will succeed. It doesn’t even have to be in person, it could be a video call.

People fail to make changes to their lives because they try to do it all themselves.

It doesn’t really work in long term, and it doesn’t have to be this way.

You can recruit and “enlist” people to help you. By doing this, you’re taking care of the up and down motivation you have.

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Not only are people happy to help, when they see this type of behavior, they’re also inspired and motivated to change their lives. Pretty soon, you end up creating change in not just your life, but other people’s too.

So when the next dip in willpower comes?

You have a friend sitting right next to you, watching your every move, making sure you get things done anyway.

3. Build Good Habits Effortlessly

Changing your life means changing your day to day habits.

Habits are automated behaviors you do everyday, like how a clock works, without thinking or motivating yourself to do them.

Some habits help you to change, others can stop you. One of the best ways to replace your ‘bad’ habits with good ones is to treat them like old clothes. What happens when your t-shirt gets old, faded and out of fashion? You replace it with something new and improved.

Do the same thing with your habits – upgrade and replace them with something better. Start small, then slowly graduate to higher levels of difficulty.

Let me give you a clear example of what I mean:

A few years ago (before it became mainstream), I was trying to start my own habit of meditating every single day to help boost my productivity and mindfulness. I’d done a mind blowing course called Vipassana. It involved 10 days of deeply powerful meditation combined with noble silence in a remote part of the UK.

Now it was easy to do when I was there (#1 – environment!) with all those other meditators (#2 – people helping me). All I could do was meditate. There were ZERO distractions. I had NO CHOICE.

When I got home however, after a few days of sticking with it, I quickly caved.

Those extra 30 minutes of sleep were just so much easier than waking up everyday at 4am for a long one hour meditation.

So what did I do to build this really important habit?

Like with most things, I wanted to make changes to my life. I wanted to become my best self.

I knew how important it was. I just couldn’t follow through consistently and kept failing over and over.

Then, it hit me.

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I needed to start small. I made a tiny change, that made all the difference.

I made a tiny change, that I could stick to – without fail – that has me meditating daily every single day now.

What was it?

Instead of trying to do something BIG inconsistently (1 hour of 4am morning meditation) and failing again and again. I decided to do something small consistently.

Building any good habit really just comes down to repetition. The way the brain is built works in favour of this.

My new habit became:

When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will sit cross legged for 30 seconds with my eyes closed.

Eventually, once I did this consistently for a few months. I increased difficulty.

When I wake up, I will fold my bedding neatly. Then I will meditate for 10 minutes.

Why does this work?

What’s important here is that the behavior you want (meditating) is tied to another consistent habit (folding your bedding).

I attached my new habit to one that already is consistent.

Making it more likely to happen.

Secondly, I aimed for consistency, not perfection. This is where a lot of people fail. They have an idea of the change they want, but things become all or nothing.

When you do this, you fail to realize the power of consistency. The brain you have loves patterns. In this case, I trained my brain to repeat a set pattern every morning when I fold my bed.

There was no motivation or willpower required.

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This training has gone so far now that if I miss a day of meditating, I really feel uncomfortable. I’m just as conditioned to meditate as most people are to checking their phones in the morning.

If you want to learn more about quitting bad habits, Lifehack’s CEO also has a guide on it: How to Break Bad Habits: I Broke 3 Bad Habits in Less Than 2 Months

4. Create More Time by Quitting Social Media

You know the best thing I’ve ever done for my productivity and it took me 30 seconds to do?

I deleted all social media apps from my phone and blocked them on my laptop.

Then, to reinforce it, I told all my friends and followers on Facebook (my most used platform) I wasn’t using it for a while.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with my social media. Social media is a tool. Tools are neutral. It’s how we use them that is “productive” or “distracting”.

We each have to judge how healthy our usage is, especially when weighed against unlocking our best self. That said, for most people reading this, including me, I think limiting our usage is a very favorable advantage.

One of the best ways to make changes in our lives is not to add new tools or tricks. But simply remove things that distract us.

Social media is something I use heavily for my businesses. Technically I’m a “social media influencer” and “YouTuber”. I need to be posting constantly, right?

Our situations are unique, so I came up with a unique solution for this. After deleting and blocking these apps from my devices, I installed a social media management software that still allows me to post my updates.

The big difference, however, is I cannot spend any time scrolling and being distracted.

Final Thoughts

Change is not always about more. Sometimes it’s about doing less and getting rid of what distracts or blocks you.

Trying to do things by yourself is a good way to fail. Share your goals and pitfalls with people, no one helps until you ask.

Start with small changes consistently instead of big changes failed at consistently. The momentum will give you results over time.

So what to do next to make changes in your life?

  1. Write down where you are going to GO to create the changes you want.
  2. Message 3 to 4 people on social media and ask them to help you using the message template I gave you.
  3. Choose one small habit to get started with immediately and upgrade it over time.
  4. Delete all, or at least most social media apps on your devices, and notify people you are leaving to make it stick.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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