I write lists for everything.
I keep two separate grocery lists; one for items I need from my everyday store and the other for items I want when I’m finally able to make it to the bulk store. I keep a list of all of the shows I have set to record; you know, in case my DVR craps out without so much as a notice. I have a list of books I want to read (and write), a list of items I need to schedule on my calendar next year, and a list of all the changes I want to make in my life.
Now, I realize that I do go a little overboard with lists. But I also firmly believe that there are a few lists that can really help you take your life to the next level.
#1: A Daily To-Do List
Outlining daily tasks keeps you moving forward. It reminds you of the steps you must take each day to not only meet your obligations, but also to get wherever it is you want to be in life.
I honestly believe that if I didn’t have a daily to-do list, I wouldn’t get anything done. Not only is it incredibly gratifying to cross items off once they are completed, it also decreases the likelihood that I’ll forget to do something important…like calling a source to conduct an interview for an upcoming article.
My to-do list includes both work and home obligations so I can see them all at the same time. If an item has a specific time, I write that time on the list and circle it so I see it quickly and clearly. I also set an alarm for 5 minutes before each of these times so I don’t get lost in what I’m doing and accidentally let them slide by.
How to create your daily to-do list: Every morning, take a few minutes to write down everything you want or need to get done that day. You can also write it the night before, if you wish, so you know exactly what you have to take care of when you wake up. If you want to take this one step further, make your list into two columns: priorities and niceties. Anything listed under the priority column is a must-do that day. Anything on the niceties side is something you’d like to take care of if you get time.
#2: A List of Blessings
When times get tough, it’s easy to have a “poor me” attitude. You start focusing on areas where your life lacks, leaving you to feel as if your world is less satisfying, less important, or just simply less.
Keeping a list of blessings changes this type of negative perspective. Instead of looking at where you feel your life falls short, you spend more time looking at where your cup flows over. You start to recognize that, even if things aren’t exactly the way you’d like, you still have a hell of a lot to be thankful for!
On my blessings list you will find:
- my husband for always supporting me, even when I’m in one of my moods
- my friends for understanding when I need conversation and when I’m better off left alone
- my family for always wanting to spend time with me whenever I return home to visit
- my neighbors for being so pleasant to live next to, always sharing a wave and a smile whenever we cross paths
- owning my business, providing maximum flexibility and allowing me to pick my projects
- always having a place to live, food in my belly, and clothes on my back
- being able to take some great vacations with my husband, leaving me with memories to cherish for years to come
How to create your list of blessings: Write a list of all of the things you are thankful for in your life. Think about family, friends, finances, necessities that are met, and all of the “extras” that you enjoy. If you struggle with creating this list, think about the things that, if they were suddenly gone tomorrow, you would miss.
#3: A List of ‘Whys’
Motivation is not a constant. Even if you are fully committed to doing certain things today, that doesn’t mean that you will still feel that same level of commitment tomorrow (or five minutes from now). One of the best ways I know to keep going long enough to get the results I want is to write a list of ‘whys.’
This is a list of all of the reasons I want to reach a specific goal. For example, one of the goals I want to achieve within the next year is to publish another book. The problem is, writing a book takes a lot of time. Editing takes even longer. So, I find that this is an easy task to push off. That is, until I create a list of why this goal means so much to me.
Publishing another book would enable me to help more readers solve a specific problem. It would also make me feel more productive since it would be something I do for myself versus writing for a client. Another book would add to my revenue stream, allow me to establish my expertise in a different area, and keep me relevant in the publishing world.
When I look at this list, it’s harder to let my goal slide. It also reminds me why I’ve set this as a goal to begin with, which means that I’m more likely to follow through.
How to create your list of ‘whys’: Think about the goals you want to reach in your own life. Next, make a list of the reasons why these goals are important to you. Keep that list handy and review it often. Use it to motivate you at times when you’re not making progress.
Start keeping these three lists and you’ll find it easier to level-up in life. Before you sit down to write, don’t forget to subscribe to BuildingYourGrit.com. That way, you’ll never miss ways to strengthen your grit and become stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually than you’ve ever before!