Last year I discovered the perfect way to make meaningful goals each new year and more importantly keep them. Now every January 1st (or 2nd depending upon what sort of night New Year’s was) I do this…

Write a letter to my future self.

I wish I could say that I came up with this brilliant yet simple idea, but alas I did not. It was brought to my attention by the lovely Jess Lively of MakeUnder My Life and I feel incredibly lucky to have discovered her original inspirational post.

The idea of this exercise is to write a letter to your future self AS your future self, reflecting upon all of the things that you accomplished over the past year. So, for example, this year on January 2nd, 2013 I sat down with a cup of tea, a few Christmas goodies and Rory snuggled on my lap to write a letter as my future January 1st, 2014 self talking about all of the triumphs she experienced in 2013.

By doing this you are employing positive, assertive language for yourself. Instead of saying ‘I hope I do this this year’ you are saying affirmatively ‘I have done this this year.’ It sounds like such a little thing, but the effects are truly astonishing. By essentially telling yourself you have already accomplished something you somehow believe even more that it is possible. Then you read the letter back to yourself half way through the year to see how you’re doing (or whenever you need some self-provided inspiration) and once again on New Year’s Eve.

This is my second year writing a letter to myself. Last year’s letter actually helped me to accomplish about 80% of the things I set out to do, so I have eagerly penned another for 2013.

The beauty of these letters is that they can be anything you want them to be. It doesn’t have to be profound and you don’t have to set out to do mind-shattering things — merely put pen to paper, think about all of the things you wish to do for you, all of the things (big or small) that you talk about doing all the time and make a promise to yourself to do them.

To give you an idea of what I mean, here is how I opened my letter to myself last year:

“Dear Laura,

As I see myself walk through the door into 2013 I come face to face with a confident young woman who has finally learned how to manage long healthy hair in a flattering manner and glide throughout party crowds in a pair of heels without tripping all over the place….”

Personally, I always open my letters with silly ambitions that will make future me chuckle, because it helps me to relax and keep the letter real. Then I move onto business goals, personal goals and other things that matter most to me.

So here is my dream for each of you this year — write an honest, raw letter to your future self. Dream big. Try all of the things you are always too afraid to start. Believe that you can grow (because you can!) Trust that you are capable and talented in your own way.

The best part about writing this letter will be the reassurance it gives you that a whole fresh year waits before you — not a month or two, but a whole year in which you can do as much or as little as you want.

My 2014 letter is tucked away in a pretty envelope and pinned to my office wall so that I can easily reread it whenever I’m having a stressful day. One of the overriding themes this year is to really focus on Pawsh and take it into new directions that have previously been intimidating for me. I am so immensely grateful for this community and am dedicating myself to making it an even better place.

So are you with me? Will you write a letter to yourself this year? Will you dare to dream big and most of all believe in yourself to see those dreams come true? You have the power to do anything you set your mind to. xo

PAWSH PERKS: A few inspirational words about determination.