Picture yourself smiling in the future. It’s 5-10 years from now, and your big grin comes from achieving all of your dreams. You accomplished this by creating achievable goals and marking them off one by one.
Research has proven that writing about or visualizing positive thoughts and dreams can bring about your Best Possible Future. This optimistic thinking can provide insights, which spark positive choices, goal achievement, well-being, and emotional adjustment.
“This isn’t just about imagining a model future. It’s also about building a best possible self today that can make that future come true,” says psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. In a study, students wrote about their “best possible future” for 20 minutes for four consecutive days.
They responded to this prompt:
“Imagine yourself in the future, after everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Think of this as the realization of your life dreams, and of your own best potentials. In all of these cases, you are identifying the best possible way that things might turn out in your life, in order to help guide your decisions now.”
Study participants showed an immediate boost in well-being after completing this exercise, and they remained happier three weeks later. Also, students suffered from fewer illnesses for five months after this activity.Another study instructed participants to imagine their “best possible self” with a focus on work, relationships, and personal hopes. They were asked to imagine this for five minutes per day for three weeks. Study participants reported increases in optimism which built over the two weeks.
So, take a few minutes to create your best possible future. This exercise will clarify your goals. You can then make the best decisions for your future, which can make your dreams a reality.
How To Create Your Best Possible Future
Time commitment: 15 minutes
Supplies: electronic word processing device or paper and pen
Instructions: write a letter to yourself to dream up your best possible future. Envision your life going amazingly well for the next 5-10 years. How did you get here? Be specific. Use the following prompt and questions to create your letter.
Best Possible Future Prompt:“Imagine yourself in the future, after everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of your life goals. Think of this as the realization of your life dreams, and of your own best potentials. In all of these cases, you are identifying the best possible way that things might turn out in your life, in order to help guide your decisions now.”
- What specific goals have led to your success? Maybe you earned your college degree, worked at a summer internship, or met your significant other while running a 5K, etc.
- What career choices have you made?
- Did you need to obtain degrees or certifications to obtain your dream job?
- What important relationships do you have?
- Which choices can bring about romantic goals, if any? How can you create optimal family relationships and friendships?
- Which social activities interest you?
- Which friends and family share your activities?
- Which lifestyle choices have you made?
- Which health goals will help achieve your optimal lifestyle? What about fitness?
- What other important goals do you envision for your future?
Keep your letter where you can easily access it. Read it when needing a boost of positivity or when struggling to make decisions. Your letter will clarify your vision and keep you moving forward. Also, if your future wishes change, update your letter with your new vision.
Use this visualization to create linked positive choices to make your most cherished dreams come true. Your best possible future starts today …