The Best Possible Self

Welcome, visitors and clients:


The Best Possible Self (BPS) exercise can be used to change an individual’s mindset and increase their optimism and outlook. The exercise requires people to envision themselves in an imaginary future in which everything has turned out in the most optimal way. Over the past years, writing about and imagining the Best Possible Self has repeatedly shown to increase people’s mood and well-being (King, 2001; Peters et al., 2010; Sheldon & Lyubomirsky, 2006). Peters et al. (2010) provided evidence that writing about and imagining your best possible self can also increase optimism in terms of expecting favorable outcomes. Research has indicated that a change in mindset occurs due to an increase in optimism. This effect on optimism was independent of the effect on mood, which was also increased by the experiment.


The Best Possible Self exercise can be used as a daily maintenance practice to increase optimism in terms of expecting favorable outcomes (see, for instance, Meevissen et al., 2011).       


For most people, writing down their fears and troubles has therapeutic effects, but this exercise takes a positive approach towards one’s best possible self. King (2001) conducted research on the effects of this exercise and warned that this exercise might backfire if administered incorrectly. This exercise can make some people compare their current selves to their ideal selves and can cause feelings of disappointment due to the large gap. To avoid this negative result, people should write about a realistic possible future self. After the exercise, you and your practitioner (therapist or coach) may want to take the time to plan steps together to help you move towards your best possible self.

The Writing Exercise

Set a timer or stopwatch for 10 minutes. During this time, think about what the best version of you in the future might be doing, thinking, feeling, and write it down below. Imagine your life the way you always imagined it would be. Imagine that you have performed to the best of your abilities and achieved all the things you wanted to in life. 


  • King, A. (2001). The health benefits of writing about life goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 798-807
  • Meevissen, Y., Alberts H., & Peters, M. (2011). Become more optimistic by imagining a best possible self: Effects of a two-week intervention. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 42, 371-378.