Have you ever noticed a pattern in yourself? A way of thinking or a way of behaving that causes you to think “I’m always late!” or “See, you never can trust that team,” or “Why do I always end up doing all the work?” Whatever it might be for you, there is some kind of private logic at play which shapes your conscious and unconscious decisions into patterns.
But these patterns are not inevitable. We have the power to change in small ways and in big ways. One way of preparing the mind for change is to describe the future state that we want to achieve as though it were happening now, or it had already happened. This can also help us identify impulses to change that may surprise us: passions or goals we didn’t know we held. In Chade-Meng Tan’s book on mindfulness at work Search Inside Yourself, the exercise is a brief written meditation, like a journal entry, at a future point in time looking at where you are and what you’re achieving. In Margaret Lobenstine’s The Renaissance Soul, it’s a series of celebration speeches about your lifetime accomplishments given on your 100th birthday party by people you trust and admire.
The real secret to these future-state journals is keeping them handy for reference later on to see what’s starting to come true for you. Give it a try: spend three minutes writing a short journal entry on a future state you’d like to achieve with your career in the medium-distant future (say, two to three years from now.) Make sure it’s in the present tense, as though it’s already happening. Put a note to revisit your entry no earlier than six months from now to see what’s changed for you.