The Best Possible Self exercise ranks among the most effective happiness exercises because it is supported by articles published in reputable periodicals such as such as the British Journal of Health Psychology. Aside from that, it’s simply an interesting and enlightening exercise to try, giving you an insight into what your real long-term personal development goals are.
Doing this exercise can increase positive emotions, develop a sense of optimism, and improve coping skills.
Here are some of the basic steps to get you started:
- Think of a time in the future (6 months, 1 year, or even 5 years from now), and visualize in detail living your best possible self. This has to be your own idea of living life in the most pleasing and interesting way.
- Imagine a realistic scenario of how you got to this point, whether it’s reaching a career or life goal. Remember that this is not an unrealistic daydream but an attainable goal.
- Write down the details (or, if you prefer, first write it down, then visualize it.)
- Write down all the character strengths (e.g. creativity, team work, humility) you will need to develop and use in order to actualize your best possible self.
Here is an example of a “best possible self” story. Please note that it is only a fragment, and that when you try the exercise, you’ll need to make your narrative much more detailed.
“I see myself doing work that is meaningful and fills me with a sense of purpose as I help people reach their dreams on a daily basis. I will use my love of learning and curosity strengths as I return to school to study new topic areas. I will also use social intelligence by networking with people in the helping profession and staying open to emerging possibilities that might broaden my experiences.”