Sometimes our goals in life can be elusive. But research suggests that building optimism about the future can motivate people to work toward that desired future and thus make it more likely to become a reality.
This exercise asks you to imagine your life going as well as it possibly could, then write about this best possible future. By doing so, research suggests that you’ll not only increase your happiness in the present but pave the way for sustained happiness down the line.
By thinking about your best possible future self, you can learn about yourself and what you want in life. This way of thinking can help you restructure your priorities in life in order to reach your goals. Additionally, it can help you increase your sense of control over your life by highlighting what you need to do to achieve your dreams.
Take a moment to imagine your life in the future. What is the best possible life you can imagine? Consider all of the relevant areas of your life, such as your career, academic work, relationships, hobbies, and/or health. What would happen in these areas of your life in your best possible future?
For the next 15 minutes, write continuously about what you imagine this best possible future to be. 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, who 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.
If you liked this exercise, we’ve got 2 more for you!
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Bio: Gratitude Revealed is an unprecedented journey into the science, mystery and building blocks of gratitude. In a series of 16 film shorts, acclaimed filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us not only what these ideas look like, but how they can be expressed in our daily lives. The Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley (GGSC) has attached evidence-based practices to each video to ensure that the viewer has a place to go even when the video ends. This journey begins with gratitude but the destination is entirely up to you, the viewer. Start your journey by clicking here.