This is Not Your Typical Way to Set New Year’s Goals

christine c renee setting new years goals

Green Chamelion - Unsplash

I wrote my future self a letter instead of making goals for 2017.

Every January 1st, I wake up early – or stay up really late- and ponder the old year and the new year together. What have I accomplished? What will I accomplish one year from now?

I don’t usually set myself goals but I do make a mental list of what I’d like to accomplish. Last year at this time started a successful spending ban on January 1, 2016.

This year I had no particular plan to write down a set of goals. They don’t always work for me. I know it’s not the goal’s fault, it is my fault for not sticking with it. For not ensuring daily systems were put in place so I could forge a new habit that would make my goals successful.

I got depressed when I thought about making a list of goals for the year. They’re just a bunch of words lined up in a to-do style, on a piece of paper that will get lost within a week.

While mourning the passing of another year, I felt this urge to write something. Not a set of goals, that’s for dam sure. But I had to write about wanting to know what it would be like one year from now. What would I like to tell my future self when she woke up on January 1, 2018. And, I wanted her to know what was I thinking exactly one year ago, in this spot.

So I wrote myself a letter. My future self. I would tell her how I felt this morning. The things I thought about, and what I wished for her the day she read this letter.

That letter went like this:

Dear Future Self,

While jotting down my waking notes in my Morning Pages, a thought came to me that I should write a letter to you. You being me one year from today.

I was woken up early by a loud noise and the charge of my dog barking because of it. The adrenaline was so powerful that I stayed awake and could not go back to sleep.

It’s 3 a.m.

An hour later found me pondering where the hell 2016 went. What the fuck man. It seems to me that time keeps passing faster every year, hurdling me head first into the inevitable at an alarming rate. Where did it go? I must be doing something wrong, pursuing the wrong dream maybe? I wonder if I would be happy anywhere else or if I’m not where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing (meaning my day job). I say this because according to Slipstream Time Hacking rules, this hurdling only means I’m pursuing something that doesn’t make me happy. Time flies when you’re NOT having fun. But sometimes I wonder if I could have fun at all – sometimes I  think it’s me that can’t find the fun in things and location has nothing to do with it. So, if you’re reading this and are feeling the same way, it means you’ve made no progress in 2017 as far as knowing what you want. That’s a little sad, I know but I can’t see doing the things I want to do without money. And right now I can’t see any other way to make money than to work this job and live here.

Not all is bad, though, I have an easy job and get paid well. I have a life here, my own place, my own responsibilities. I’ve made it farther than any other woman I know personally. And I love my small business, it keeps me sane – and a little bit happier than I have been in years. So for all intents and purposes, You (I) are successful.

With that said, there are things I wish for you. First, I wish that when you read this letter, you’re doing so from a happier state of mind. And that you woke up with a satisfied feeling knowing that you made a choice and are happy with it. Whether you’re still at the same job and in the same house. I wish you happiness in what ever you choose.

I hope you were able to curb your spending and was able to save enough to visit family and pay a good chunk of the car payment down. You know, there’s only one more year before the contract at your day job changes. You know what that means. Have you stopped using that fucking credit card yet? Or at least, only use it for items that you already have money for? You better not be in the same amount of debt that I am in today, and it better not be in more debt than I have today. You’re so much smarter than that!

I hope this letter finds you in better health than the kind of health I’m in. I hope that knee and hip aren’t hurting anymore and that you’re about 25 lbs lighter than I am right now. How’s that stationary bike working out for you?

Have you and Bubba gone up the mountain to talk to trees this year? I’ve only looked at the mountains from our living room window and admired them on the way to work. Bubba loves to be outdoors, almost just as much as I love writing. I hope you spent more time taking him up the mountain this year than I did all last year.

By the way, how’s that book? Have you started it yet? I hope this letter finds you at least half way through your manuscript. Fiction or no fiction, I hope you at least started.

Oh! And I hope you are feeling clearer nowadays. I hope the house is only full of things that bring you joy. You better have sold, donated, or thrown away all the things that lay around and needlessly take up space. Those things in the garage cause me stress every day I wake up. I hope you are waking up to a clean and organized house. At least, mostly organized.

How many books did you read this year? I managed to knock out 14 books this year! Two more than my goal set at the end of 2015. I hope you read at least 18 books in 2017.

Lastly, I hope this letter finds you and our parents and siblings healthier and happier than they are as I write this. Have you given up trying to get them on board with your cockamamie ideas to be better with money and health and just accept them the way they are? Because they will come around on their own time, just like you did. I also hope you took the time to save money to visit them this year.

I leave you with a quote dad shared with me last week,

There's no reason to regret the past. Because at the time, you felt good making that choice.' ~ DadClick To TweetI take that to mean, at the time, it seemed like a good idea. So, no regrets okay. Especially for 2017.

Oh, one more thing. This morning I read the most amazing article written by an extraordinary blogger. You have no excuse to make excuses. 

See you in one year.


christine c renee setting new year's goals

Green Chameleon – Unsplash

As a blogger, I figured writing myself a letter that wished my future self good luck was much better than sitting down and listing out a bunch of goals that lacked any backing. I let the pen (er, the keyboard) do the scribing for what my heart wanted to say.

You can do the same. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do feel today, and how do I want my future self to feel one year from now?
  • What things do I want my future self to have accomplished in one year?
  • Where do I want my future self to be in one year, mentally and physically?
  • What do I want my future space to look like one year from now?

Instead of writing down your new year’s goals as a list, why not write your future self a letter. A love letter to talk about everything you feel now, ask about how things are in the future, and everything else you hope for your future self.

Try it and let me know how it goes.


Hey there! In 2018, I paid off about $65,000 of debt after finally getting serious about it. That led me to becoming a freelance writer. Here on my blog I like to write about managing money and solo-business topics. Hire me to write informative content for your blog on topics of personal finance and small business. let's work together!

  • Mariana says:

    Love this Christine! Reminds me of some of the conversations I have going on with my self while I journal. Totally agree that writing letters to our future selves just feels so much more meaningful than a bulleted list of ‘to-do’s”.

    Love and luck to you this 2017!

    • Christine C. Renee says:

      Hey Mariana,
      Thank you so much, I agree! I thought this year, I should be nicer to myself. 🙂 I’m so glad you liked it and stopped by to comment, thank you for that!

      Love and luck to you in 2017 as well!

  • David Hartshorne says:

    Hey Christine,

    This is certainly a different way of setting goals for the year. I’m a little old-fashioned and prefer to work out some SMART goals for my freelance business. But I can see this is a good way to go with personal goals.

    All the best for 2017!
    – David

    • Christine C. Renee says:

      Hey David!
      Thanks for reading and commenting! I don’t know what it is but I’ve tried the SMART method for my personal goals and they always fall short. I still use SMART goals for my business and day-job though. I just thought writing myself a letter would make them stick this time. We have 12 months to see! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, best wishes for your 2017! I look forward to working with you.

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