Ever since I was 12 years old, I’ve written a letter to myself at the beginning of the year that I didn’t allow myself to open until New Year’s Eve that same year.
I write about everything going on in my life–from future career dreams (travel show host) to personal thoughts and ambitions (seeing a real-life ghost) to my predictions for the upcoming year (what I think college will be like).
Though my thoughts have expanded past seeing a ghost, the process still amazes me when I look back at the end of the year and see how much I’ve changed and grown.
Think of it like a journal entry you only do once a year. You’re free to capture what’s important to you at a certain moment in your life. Don’t get me wrong–you still need goals, preferably written out where you see them daily–but this is more personal. Check out the advantages I’ve found below.
It’s funny to see how what you once thought was so important in your life ended up being no big deal. We’re often entrenched in the moment and what’s happening to us right now, that we lack the foresight to determine if this will actually matter one year from now (or one month from now). Opening that letter at the end of the year is a real wake-up call as it often shows us that what we worried about never even happened.
What makes this process even cooler is that you have written documentation of who you, and your brand, are at a certain point in your life. From the hopes and worries you include to your tone and word choice, it all paints a picture of you.
After reading my letter, I like to write a brief follow-up recording what actually happened that year. This not only adds perspective, but it serves as a stepping stone to the next year. With a clearer picture of who I am and what not to worry about, I go into the new year with more realistic and achievable goals.
I know the initial thought of writing something else, with school and assignments and everything else you have going on in your life, seems daunting, but trust me. It’s worth half an hour of writing to see how much you and your brand have evolved.
And one more thing. There’s no reason to wait for a new year to begin to start the process. Start today, and 365 days from now, you’ll be glad you did.
Amanda is an account executive at MarketWave, a marketing and public relations agency in Addison, TX, where she works on everything from media relations to writing and editing client materials. Prior to MarketWave, Amanda worked as a publications intern atSouthwest Airlines before hired on with the company and working full-time at the airline for two years. Amanda gained experience writing for Southwest Airlines’ inflight magazine, Spirit, while working on her master’s degree in journalism from the University of North TexasMayborn School of Journalism. She’ll graduate in August 2011 with a degree focused on strategic communication and a minor in marketing. Amanda is a member of the Society of Professional Journalistsand is passionate about traveling, writing and nonprofit organizations. Connect with her on Twitter (@amgleason) and LinkedIn.