Future self journaling works because it creates conscious awareness around your current behaviors and patterns. For many of us, this exercise is the first (and only time) we’ve done this.
We talk alot about archeological journaling to expose root systems from our broken past that need healing. We also talk alot about self-awareness being essential for a strong EIQ. The entire process taps into the mental software that was created in our childhood while our brain was in it’s early growth stages. We needed this mental software to learn how to “be” in our world. As children we had to quickly learn the language, social norms, how to communicate, and what was expected of us from our caregivers. We didn’t get to consciously choose what beliefs and behaviors we wanted to adopt.
They were chosen for us.
By age 7, we became conscious as our growth stage shifted. We continued to operate under this mental software unaware of its existence. In certain ways, especially with the experience of trauma, we may get stuck and emotionally stunted.
In order to change our behavior, we have to become conscious of our consequential subconscious default behavior patterns.
By being present and aware of our habit loops, we can start to shift them. It will take self awareness, understanding temperament, archaeological journaling, and effective healing of past traumas to effectively “future” journal.
As you then move into future self journaling it can become a tool that allows you to start becoming more conscious of your thoughts, behaviors, reactions, etc. The more you use it, the more your self awareness will expand. It’s in this expanded consciousness state, where you find the ultimate empowerment: choice in response. You can choose life, you can choose responses, you can choose who and what you will serve. As in choosing to serve God.
How do I begin? Here are some possibilities.
Step 1: Self Awareness
1. What behavior or pattern do I want to change? Focus on ONE.
“I want to stop becoming defensive in my day to day interactions”
2. Write affirmations or statements that will help you achieve this. Let these flow naturally. Do not overthink this:
“I am able to hear other perspectives.” “I am calm” “I create space between my responses” “I am safe.” “God is in control.”
3. Write how you will be able to practice these new behaviors in daily life:
“I will practice observing the feelings and thoughts that come up rather than habitually reacting when interacting with my family. I will take my thoughts captive. I will forgive quickly. I will take ownership of my choices and decisions.”
After you’re finished Step 1, you don’t need to complete again for at least 30 days or until you successfully see change. Then you can start working on a new pattern. You will now go onto Step 2.
My daily affirmation:
I am calm and peaceful. I am able to observe and not react. I can choose my responses. I have value because God has created me in His image. I am free to be, and free to become.
Today I will focus on shifting my pattern of:
Habitually reacting to situations when facing an emotional trigger.
I am grateful for:
The opportunity to become a different version of myself. My pets, my family, the ability to create, my job, my health… I can love every version of myself because God loves me as I am.
The person I am becoming will experience more:
Joy, gratitude, abundance, peace, and ability to live in the present moment.
I have an opportunity to be my future self today when I:
Pause and listen rather than react. When I understand my temperament strengths and weaknesses and choose to operate out of my strengths. When I choose to take risks in areas that I previously did not.
When I think about who I am becoming I feel:
Confident, fulfilled, involved in the process, empowered, humbled, joyful because I am no longer a pawn to my thoughts and feelings. Patient.Now that you have some examples, I will answer the most FAQ about future self journaling.
“Do I need to do it every single day?”
Yes for best results. This practice only takes 5-8 minutes a day which makes it easy to complete daily.
“What if I skip a day”
No problem. If you skip a day, this is not an issue. Try to avoid assigning meaning to skipping a day (i.e., “I never finish what I start”, “I’m lazy”). Affirm to yourself that you will start again tomorrow. With each new habit there are times when we will not show up. This is part of the path of learning to trust yourself. Today is one day. Tomorrow is a new opportunity.
“I have major resistance to journaling. I just can’t seem to start. Help”
Resistance (mental blocks) is very normal. We typically have resistance to the things we need to do most for our growth. The subconscious mind is very powerful, and when we attempt to break up its patterning, there will be a mental temper tantrum. You might feel anxious, scared, or even completely blocked off from doing it. Overcoming this is part of the process. Each time you make the choice to do the practice even though your thoughts may be yelling to do otherwise, you are overcoming your mental, spiritual and emotional resistance.
Don’t focus on it being “perfect” or if you are doing it “right.” If you can only do one question, just do one question. Build up each day. The act of completing a task you’ve committed to will be helpful in your healing.
What is the best time?
This is different for everyone. Some of you might want to do it before bed. Others might like to do it during a lunch break. The time is unimportant. It is the act of completing that is important. You might want to experiment with a few different times to see what works best. There is no “right” time to do future self journaling.
“I am not having any breakthroughs. Does future self journaling work for everyone?”
Future self journaling can work for everyone. It’s the act of becoming consciously aware. However, it’s just a pathway to that awareness. You will start to be more aware of how you’re thinking and behaving. The more you commit to the practice, without judging the experience, the better your results will be. Expectations around a “breakthrough” might actually be blocking your awareness. Trust and Faith are healthy companions in this process.
“I don’t want to keep the same pattern for 30 days, can I change it?”
You will get the most benefit if you stick to one pattern. It will allow you to focus your full attention on making that one change. You’ll want to try to stick it out for at least the entire 30 days to ensure that you are well on your way to saving this new habit as a new subconscious pattern.
“I’m skeptical about this working”
This is mental resistance and it’s normal. Don’t focus on being skeptical. Focus your awareness on the questions. Answer them with as much clarity as you can. As you go through the process the skeptical resistance will fade.
Is it ok if I type the future self journal?
Yes. But you will get more benefit by writing.
I’m struggling with _______ what should I journal about?
You might come up against mental and emotional blocks during this process. Figuring out this process on your own is an important part of healing. Don’t worry about doing it “perfectly.” Focus on connecting to you own inner voice.
In a world where we expect instant results, those of you that are in our process at EIS, know that it is a journey, not a destination. This paradigm shift is important to realize in any process of change and transformation. The idea is to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
In subsequent posts we will explore other facets of future journaling such as goals, dreams, fulfillment of journaling goals, etc.
BH/ Adapted from articles by Dr. Nicole LePera