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.

My wife and I have included a letter with our Christmas cards for many years. This letter recaps the events of our lives during the past year.  One year, however, I sat down in January and wrote the Christmas Letters for that year. I wrote them as if the year had already passed and was 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 letter and read it each month. The outcome is that once a month, those thoughts were presented to me. Once a month, I was reminded of the direction in which I hope to be headed.

When December arrived, the similarity between what I wrote January and what has happened between then and December was remarkably similar. Consciously, I had 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, a practice I have continued, seems to be making a difference for me. I offer this one simple idea, “Christmas Letters from the Future” for your consideration.