7 ‘Open When You Need Motivation’ Letter Ideas


If you’re looking for a way to be there for a friend, a family member like your mother or sibling, significant other, or loved one when you can’t actually be there, Open When letters are a great option. Open When letters aren’t any more complicated than letters that should only be opened or read during certain circumstances. 

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In this case, specifically, the Open When letter will be for someone who needs motivation, especially after a loss. It’s sometimes difficult, albeit impossible, to motivate yourself on your own—especially during hard times. 

You’re all the more qualified to write this letter to a loved one if you feel you pride yourself in being a motivated, high-energy person. Sometimes, the best way to help ourselves is to first help someone else. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about how to write a motivational Open When letter.   

Steps for Writing an ‘Open When You Need Motivation’ Letter

Rather than looking at your letter as one project you’d like to complete, it may be easier to divide the process into steps. We’ve provided five optional steps that should prove helpful below. 

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1. Determine who you’re writing for

It may sound obvious that you should have someone in mind before writing your letter. However, you can always write a general letter to keep on hand, too. 

Determining a specific person will make it that much easier to craft your letter and make it personal. It’s also a great way to show someone how much you care.

2. Freely jot down ideas

No idea has to be final, and you may have plenty of bad ideas. With anything, you shouldn’t let this get in your way.

Furthermore, you may have plenty of good ideas you wouldn’t think of if you tried to keep your writing process too structured. Freely jotting down ideas will make the next step easier, too. 

3. Write a draft

Once you have your ideas written out, the draft step should come naturally. You can rearrange your ideas or edit them as necessary.

An Open When letter doesn’t have to follow any specific format, either. You’re free to use bullet points, short phrases, poems, encouraging quotes, drawings, and more. 

4. Edit as necessary

After you have a draft of your letter written, it’s important to take some time away from it.

If all goes to plan, the recipient of your letter is going to have this for a long time. Is there anything else you’d like to share with them? Think it over. Then, re-read your letter and make any revisions or additions. 

5. Finalize your letter

Finalizing your letter may be a fairly easy step. You should look over your letter one last time to catch errors or anything that’s not perfectly imperfect. 

This step may also require you to seal your letter in an envelope or other package to mail to your loved one, or it may require you to give it to them in person. Either way, do what you can to ensure it actually gets to the right destination.

As part of this step as well, you may also choose to write out or explain a few rules about your Open When letter. It’s not much more complicated than the recipient should read the letter alone when they need motivation (without peeking prior, either).

As you can imagine, letters like these are a great way to demonstrate, “I’m here for you.”

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Ideas for Items to Put in an ‘Open When You Need Motivation’ Letter

Whether you’re curious about specific points to touch on in your letter or the presentation of your letter in itself, we’ve provided plenty of ideas below. 

1. Share some of your earliest memories of them

Everyone loves a good, “I never told you this, but…” Being candid and honest about how you feel about this person will likely make them feel pretty good. 

2. List their greatest qualities

Tell this person why they’re qualified, talented, important, beautiful, special to you, etc. You’re not writing this letter to hold back or give a lackluster pep talk. Be sure to focus your list on aspects of their character — such as important things they have said or done.  

3. Remind them of challenges they’ve overcome

A great trick for any current challenge you’re facing is to recall the last one you got through. Maybe it was a “disaster” in your eyes, but was it really? You’re still here, after all, so it couldn’t have been totally devastating. 

Sometimes (or often), we all need a reminder of how far we’ve come. And, gaining this perspective from someone else can have us look at ourselves in a more positive light.

4. References or inside jokes

Many friendships and relationships are built upon the communication that only the two of you understand. 

A lot of this comes down to your shared culture — what music, shows, movies, and more do the two of you enjoy? What are some catchphrases, characters, or aspects of these things that you both love and share together? Including this content can “take up space” but in a meaningful way. 

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5. Quotes from inspirational people or media

Though the point of writing an Open When letter is to use your own thoughts and ideas, sometimes these can have a compounding effect when combined with the voices of others. 

If your loved one has a favorite speaker, writer, or another person of influence, including motivational quotes from them is a great idea. 

6. Pizazz

An Open When letter for someone who needs motivation shouldn’t be dull, boring, or fatiguing to read. This applies to not only the content of the letter but also how you present the letter. 

Don’t be afraid to use color, a tasteful (or tacky, who cares?) sticker or two, as well as an emphasis on important words, thoughts, or phrases with different typefaces and such. Make the letter not only a joy to read through, but also a joy to look at. 

7. A physical memento

Though words can convey a lot, sometimes you may want to include a little something extra. A token, gift, or physical memento can serve as something tangible and powerful to your loved one, no matter how silly it may seem. 

  • A unique pair of sunglasses: Let’s call them “hater-blockers.” Including them in your “open when” gift is sure to lighten the mood.
  • A small token or charm: This token or charm might be something like a seashell, a religious token, or some other lucky item. 
  • A game piece: Do you and your loved one have a favorite board game? Some other inside joke that would involve a monopoly piece?
  • A sauce packet or utensil: This may be strange and specific, but do you and your loved one have a favorite restaurant to frequent together? Just have an above-average appreciation for hot sauce? Something lighthearted and sentimental like this can work wonders — just be certain that it won’t ruin the contents of the letter. 
  • A photo of the two of you: As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. For extra flair, include something you drew or created yourself (even if it’s comically “bad”).

‘Open When You Need Motivation’ Letter Examples

We hope the above tips have you feeling a bit more confident about writing an Open When You Need Motivation letter. We went the extra step, too, and included a few example letters below. Feel free to snag some inspiration from these throughout your process.

Example one

Hey, you. Yes, YOU!

If you’re finally reading this, that can only mean one thing: You think you don’t have what it takes. You’re feeling tired or otherwise bummed. You feel as though nothing matters right now. Your general attitude is, “What difference does it make?” 

Or, perhaps you have a large task in front of you, and you’re in no mood to get it done. Whatever the case may be, I’m so glad that you opened this letter. It’s going to kick your butt in the best way.

You are capable. You are smart. You are intelligent. When you don’t know the answer — and it’s impossible to have every single one — you figure it out. And that takes heart. 

You want to know something else? You’ve failed before. We all have. But look where you are. You’re right here — and that means something. You were meant to be here, experiencing this right now. 

You may ask yourself, “Why me?” or, “Why do I have to do this now?” I wish I had the answers, but I don’t think anyone does. The simple fact is, the universe has called upon you for this task or this burden, and it’s your job to bear it the best you can.

And your best, by the way? Incredible. You have overcome so much already and have gotten so far, and you hardly give yourself enough credit — are you rolling your eyes yet? Well, stop it. 

You’re magnificent, unique, special, talented, calculated, analytical, and the best person to tackle this right now — without a doubt. 

I love you, and YOU CAN do it. 

Example two

Hi, Hon!

I already know why you’re here. It’s OK to doubt yourself, even though it makes me sad to see you doing so. But I’d like you to instead focus on the opportunity you have here. 

It’s true, it’s often the beginning that’s the hardest part — dipping your foot in the water, so to speak, to see how pleasant it’s going to be. 

I’m not going to sit here and tell you that the water is going to be the perfect temperature or that there aren’t going to be squalls along the way.

What I will remind you of, however, is everything you’ve already overcome. Think about the last hard day you had, if only for a moment. 

Whichever one comes to mind, there’s no question that it was rough. However, it got you here. It taught you something. Continuing each day in our way takes bravery, and you’re one of the bravest people I’ve ever met. I mean that. 

You are such a light in my life, and I don’t know what I’d do without you. The sooner you get through this and take it by the horns, the sooner you can move onto bigger and better things, which I know you will. 

Words Have Power

No matter what your loved one is going through, a lack of motivation can be a serious problem. That being said, it happens to the best of us. Wanting to write them a letter to remind them of their accomplishments, capabilities, and how you feel about them can have a huge impact. 

In many ways, an Open When letter bridges an emotional and physical gap that any old gift cannot, especially if your loved one holds onto it for years to come. For more tips as well as important resources related to end-of-life planning, check out the rest of Cake. 

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