As a reminder: repeating this exercise for three days in a row has been shown to have lasting benefits for wellbeing, optimism, and positive affect.
Welcome to Day 2!
The exercise today is almost exactly the same as yesterday. There is one tweak: a more specific timeline. Yesterday, you might have imagined yourself as a much older person looking back on a life well-lived. Today, consider a closer timeline than you did yesterday. For example, if you imagined yourself in 20 years out, now imagine yourself ten years from now.
Instructions for this exercise from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley follow:
“Use the instructions below to help guide you through this process.
It may be easy for this exercise to lead you to examine how your current life may not match this best possible future. You may be tempted to think about ways in which accomplishing goals has been difficult for you in the past, or about financial/time/social barriers to being able to make these accomplishments happen. For the purpose of this exercise, however, we encourage you to focus on the future—imagine a brighter future in which you are your best self and your circumstances change just enough to make this best possible life happen.
This exercise is most useful when it is very specific—if you think about a new job, imagine exactly what you would do, whom you would work with, and where it would be. The more specific you are, the more engaged you will be in the exercise and the more you’ll get out of it.
Be as creative and imaginative as you want, and don’t worry about grammar or spelling.”
Part 1 (12 minutes): Think about your life two to ten years in the future (choose one segment or that entire range of time – your call). Imagine that everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Consider all of the relevant areas of your life, such as your career, relationships, hobbies, spiritual aspirations, and health. Think of this as the realization of all your life dreams. Now write continuously about what you imagine this best possible future to be.
Part 2 (3 minutes): What does this tell you about who you want to become and where you are headed? Jot down some ideas and notes.
"Whatever enlarges hope will also exalt courage."
– Samuel Johnson
Wishing you joy in this moment and in the anticipation of a good future,