Why I write a letter to myself on New Year’s Day, and why you should try it.
The Magic of NYE
New Year’s Eve has always been a strangely sentimental and significant time for me.
So many of my best childhood memories have taken place in front of a tiny square television, counting down from 10, awaiting the explosion of thunderous fireworks and party poppers.
Some of my most ardent memories have transpired as the clock struck 12, knowing that the following year will be unlike anything I have ever experienced.
I guess that’s why this time of year makes me feel extremely contemplative and I can’t help but think about the version of myself that I will be shedding for the year ahead.
New Year’s Lockdown
This New Year’s Eve will be so different I know. We won’t have our usual family gathering, our hilarious laughs over delicious food and decadent desserts, or the collective prayer that we make following the countdown.
Despite this, there are small traditions I have built for myself, which mean a whole lot more this year.
A Letter to Myself
For the last 5 years, on New Year’s Day, I have written myself a letter. This letter is written to the Zaima (If God wills) that will be reading it the following year.
These letters act as tiny pins in time. A time capsule, containing everything that was me at that point in my life.
It’s oddly cathartic to write the YOU of the future a letter. Knowing that the version of YOU that will be reading it, will have changed and grown so much through choice or necessity.
Related: How to start Gratitude Journaling and adding more appreciation to your life.
Why do I do it?
I love to go over the wonders of the past year, and really bask in that feeling of progress and reflection, to send me into the new year with good vibes and a gracious heart.
It’s a rare chance to reflect honestly on the passage of time and on my own personal growth over that formative period in my life.
I really recommend this activity. Until you try, you don’t know how much you get out of it!
On the 1st of January the following year, I’m eager to open up the envelope and see what advice the Zaima from the past had for me today.
Above all, I’m always so awash with gratitude that Allah has allowed me to be here to open this letter and still be in good health and fortune the following year, Alhumdulilah.
“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Why you should try it
There are so many benefits to this exercise, here are a few of the main ones for me:
1. Cultivate more gratitude in your life
Expressing gratitude regularly, is a game changer.
You can do it verbally, keep a journal or use an exercise like this to write down all the things you appreciate in your life right now.
Fill your letter with positive affirmations and appreciation. You never know, the person on the other side may need to hear it.
2) Script your future
Where will you be in five years? Who do you want to become?
Scripting is a very powerful technique, whereby you write about your ideal life as if its already true.
Have you ever written about your dream job role, or your perfect life partner? Do you wonder what it would feel like to have these things in your life?
Well…with scripting, you can feel those exact feels! And I’ll tell you…it’s exhilarating!
The amazing thing is, your body and mind can’t tell that it’s make belief (for now!) …so, you experience the emotion and positivity physiologically, as if it’s already true.
You can use this exercise to help you identify your goals even outline how you’re going to achieve them. Make sure to write about the feeling you feel, this is what brings your scripting to life!
Imagine the future you, sitting exactly where you want to be, reading this letter…amazing!
3) A nostalgic look-back at this moment in time
Writing a letter to yourself can be a great reflective practice to do, if you are on the cusp of a huge life changing moment.
If you’re about to take the plunge and get married, or go on a monumental trip, this can be an epic activity to capture your thoughts and anticipation ahead of the event. Like a snapshot of your thoughts and feelings at a specific point in time.
Can you imagine how nostalgic it would be to look back and see what you were thinking at this pivotal moment in your life? So cool!
Want to give it a try?
Here are some writing prompts to get you started:
- What are you most grateful for in your life right now? – Do you have enough gratitude in your life? Use this exercise to express your appreciation.
- What advice would you give to yourself? – Write in third person and give yourself the advice you would want to give someone else.
- What does your ideal life look like? – Outline the goals you have for different aspects of your life. For example: Love, Fitness and Professional.
- What are you most afraid of? – Use this letter to comb through your anxieties and fears and come to a point of acceptance.
- Do you have any major regrets? – What have you done in your life that you want to do differently? Script it out, It may even help you to forgive yourself.
- What are you passionate about? – Do you have any hobbies or interests that you want to develop? Plan out your future with this passion.
- Have you read an inspiring book this year? Talk about how it affected you.
Go on, give it a try!