Life Letters Beat Resolutions and Goals for Success Measurements
Why write life letters instead of resolutions or even goals? It seems no matter how many resolutions or goals we set, very few come to pass. In fact, psychologists estimate failure rates by February are normally at 80%!
I can attest to failing at my outrageous resolutions. They seem to be HUGE bites of life that I want to change in a hurry. But I did stumble upon a secret that has changed my yearly outcomes. It is much more intentional. Livelier. More doable.
And way more successful.
I write a life letter to myself.
Easy Going Does It – or does it?
I admire the easy-going folks who seem to take the variables of life easily. They snuggle in their life raft and ride the waves as the river flows. It may be a gentle ride, or rocky with frothy rapids. They go with it. They make life look easy.
“One day at a time,” they say with a casual nod.
Nutri-Bullet LifeStyle – mixing it up and serving it fresh
Resolutions are huge bites of life I want to change in a hurry! Intentional choices help me savor every minute. Well , I try anyway.
I’ll admit it, I have to must practice “letting go” and being “chill.” Truth be told, I am not that good at it. I do yoga, hike, and binge on Netflix like the best of us.
Still, there is a nudge inside me, an internal Nutri-bullet that is taking in all the resources, experiences, tools, experiences, mentors, classes, books, music, friends, family, and mixing them into a force.
It’s a potent life drink that urges me to live to my greatest extent, while I can. My drive rushes things sometimes but I really like the overall idea. I want to allow all of my life to mix up and show me things I wouldn’t see if I kept in all in a box or insisted it is a routine.
It’s not really a focus on how much I accomplish things but to experience things.
Life Letters practice is about crafting a life where I choose what matters most to me. I commit to going in that direction.
In this life, my intention is to make the most of every opportunity or at least try to. And if I don’t reach that goal, I sure had a good time trying.
Life Letters – what are life letters and why do they work?
I normally like to write life letters to myself for 6 months to 1 year ahead. Although I wrote one 10 years ahead. Unfortunately, I gave it someone to send me. I don’t remember who and I have moved to a new location. A few times in fact. I learned less time is better anyway. It keeps me on track. (I will be very freaked out if and when the 10-year the letter finds me!)
If you have ever gone backpacking, you know this technique. You send yourself food, provisions, and boots to different locations along your extended route. When you arrive, they are waiting for you. Hopefully. (not always)
So, you start with the end in mind. Stephen Covey’s famous work from the 1980’s – Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Your life letter is about what you hope to see around you, or in your life, at the time that you read it. It is an urging to acknowledge all it took to arrive where you are, and a blueprint on how to keep moving forward.
A life letter is an urging to acknowledge all it took to arrive where you are and a blueprint on how to keep moving forward.
Life Letters First Steps – the context
Before I dive into the techniques of writing the life letter, I want to give it context. I remind myself of what I was doing and what was happening 6 months ago. (Remember: this is actually writing about what is happening in and around you right now at the moment of writing.) That way I can measure my progress accurately.
We tend to minimize the good and maximize the bad, so before you jump to the assumption that you haven’t accomplished much in the last 6 months, let’s be clear on where you were and how much has happened that you would have forgotten.
Now that I have painted a word picture of what life was is like right now, it’s time to talk about what I see myself doing 6 months from now.
Idea: Add photos of the past and maybe a photo of a dream to add visual shapers to the idea to your letter. (Could be a video!)
Use Questions – instead of conclusions
How you address our future selves in the letter will have an impact on how you respond when you read it.
If you write boxes of goals – this is what I want and how I want to recognize it, you limit the magic that life can bring. It’s the unexpected pleasures that may arise from unexpected events.
So rather than write statements that you use to measure, try questions. See how the questions open up your thinking.
Examples of Questions – be creative, write your own.
- Harmony, what is the best thing about your life right now?
- Have you traveled in the last 60 days?
- Who have you met that sent chills down your spine?
- What book did you read that has your head swirling?
- How is your course coming along? You are half-way through, now right?
- Did you visit your mom in Arizona? What impression did you leave the visit with?
- What Micro-Habits have you been working on?
- Did you drop any micro-habits?
- Where are you being successful now?
- What new relationship have you found?
- Who did you have to say good-bye to?
- What day did you make the most money? What did you do differently?
- Was it fun to get that visa bill paid off? How do you feel now?
- Who surprised you with love?
- How have you been giving to others?
You see, it’s a way I remind myself of the dreams without setting the path in stone. I want to stay in touch and accountable for my dreams, but I am not going to insist on how they materialize. So instead of writing:
Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You are enjoying your new apartment with all new furnishings. You met three people who were amazing and became friends with two them. A new red car with leather interior is in the driveway. Your trip to Italy is planned. Etc.
Don’t Limit the Magic!
Personally, I don’t want to limit magic by using my past to imagine the outcome of the future.
I want my Life Letters to serve as reminders of what I long for. And then, open the windows wide, and let the breeze of life bring my intentions in ways’ that serve the higher purpose of my life – and the other lives concerned.
I trust that there is a bigger picture than my own limited vision of success.
The exploration is delightful to me. And that includes the good the bad and the ugly.
My goal is not to experience only the best of everything. My goal is to make the best of everything no matter where or what happens. I like that creative edge. I like the mystery of it. And I welcome the surprises hidden along the path. They all seem to weave into magical outcomes we could never have set goals or resolutions to experience.