Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas Letters from the Future

Setting long-term goals has always been an important theme in time-management literature. Personally, I guess I have always had some individual goals. What has been missing seems to be having that total picture of what my life would look like a year, two years, or five years down the road. That missing link came into focus this year. It happened by added a new twist to a well-established practice.

In a recent post, you read about the Christmas Letter composed each year recapping the events of the past month and how the notes I have jotted to that point in the year resurface once each month.

This year, I sat down in January and wrote the Christmas Letters for 2007, 2008, and 2009. I wrote them as if those years had already passed and were now being recounted to friends. This act forced me to write with the same level of specificity I have always used to recount the past year.

I saved the letters in the note section of a single task on the BlackBerry and set the task to repeat each month. The outcome is that once a month, those thoughts are presented to me. Once a month, I am reminded of the direction in which I hope to be headed.

As I sit here and read what I write this past January, the similarity between what I wrote and what has happened is remarkably similar. Consciously, I have done nothing differently. Subconsciously, quite a bit has been different.

Every day presents little choices that move us either closer to our desired future or farther from it. That once-a-month reminder seems to be making a difference for me. I offer this one simple idea, "Christmas Letters from the Future" for your consideration.

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