Workshop Exercises: Decide

Letter to Myself

List key actions for your future self and explain why change needs to happen

Illustration of Letter to Myself
Run a Letter to Myself play

Timing: Planning

Prep time
10 minutes

Run time
10-30 minutes

Group size
2-40+

Why: Overcome fading motivation by making workshop insights actionable and personal

When: Ideal at the conclusion of a workshop or program to make learnings take root

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

One common and valuable exercise often conducted at the conclusion of a workshop or program is writing a letter to your future self. The primary objective of this activity is to assist participants in applying their newfound insights and learnings. By composing a letter and sending it to their future selves, individuals can outline key actions they desire their future selves to undertake while expressing the reasons why change is necessary.

Tailoring the exercise to fit the situation

The extent of openness in this exercise can be adjusted based on your judgment of what is appropriate. You have the flexibility to either impose restrictions or allow complete freedom in the content of the letters. For instance, you may choose to limit participants to three specific actions that they should follow up on. Alternatively, you might grant them the liberty to write about anything they wish. Consider the needs of the group and the overall purpose of the session to determine the most suitable approach.

Instructions for running this play

  1. Introduce the exercise. Distribute pens and paper. Explain the objective: participants are writing a letter to their future selves to apply workshop insights and commit to change. Notify them about the timeline, i.e., when you will mail these letters back.
  2. Write letters. Give participants 10-15 minutes to write a letter to their future selves. Write a focus question or prompts on a large surface visible to all participants. These can be predefined or brainstormed with the group. Examples could be:
    • What do I want to achieve by [specific date]?
    • What actions will I take tomorrow, next week, next month?
    • How do I feel now about my work/job/team, and how do I want to feel in the future?
    • I want to change [aspect] because [reason].
  3. Collect and Send. Gather the letters, safely store them, and remember to post them on the specified date – either by real mail or digitally.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Open or closed?

This exercise can be as open or closed – from a few specific bullet point actions to open-ended reflections.

Tip: Add personal check-ins

Consider personal check-ins at the agreed letter return date, reinforcing commitment and evaluating progress

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

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Ice Breakers

Relieve initial group awkwardness and establish a safe space

Educate

Broaden knowledge or insight regarding the behavior or situation to inform decisions.

Demonstrate

Show practical examples or models of the desired behavior for clear guidance.

Alert

Highlight current actions and their reasons, bringing unconscious habits to awareness.

Train

Develop necessary skills and competencies to enable effective action.

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