I love lists.
To-do lists, shopping lists, bucket lists, BuzzFeed… all of them!
In fact, I have several lists going at any one time. I have a dry erase board on the fridge for groceries, a post-it for to-dos, and a corkboard filled with aspirational vacation destinations that I hope to cross off, one by one.
In this age of information overload, reduced focus and productivity, sometimes it’s nice to put your device down and have a manual download session. Taking the time to physically spell out your intention is the first step in achieving your desired result.
I have a pad of paper and a pen by my bed because more than once I have woken in the night and remembered that I needed to check the battery in the smoke alarm or to send a birthday present. I jot down the note and instantly fall back asleep. If it is on my to-do list, then I don’t need to worry about it anymore – it will get done.
If I go to the grocery store without a list, it can go sideways pretty quickly. I will often buy what I want rather than what I need, and it turns into a very meandering trip, rather than a functional stopover. I find that referring back to my list saves time, money, and energy – all of which could be better spent.
Aside from the usual grocery and to-do lists, I have also found that writing out personal and professional goals is a great way of evaluating your current path, processing your objective, and determining a new way forward. When you are intentional and write down specific goals, you are better able to clarify what you actually want, and focus on how to achieve it.
When you are intentional and write down specific goals, you are better able to clarify what you actually want, and focus on how to achieve it.
The first step in achieving a goal, is setting a goal. Think about you want to achieve or do in the coming weeks, months, and year. Do you want to save money for a holiday? Do you want to change careers? Do you want to grow your own vegetables? Big or small, write them down, and set target dates for completion.
Once you have determined and written down specific goals, you may want to write down the steps you need to take to achieve them. These are sometimes referred to as subgoals – smaller tasks that form part of a larger overall objective. If you want to change careers and you have no idea where to start, you will want to research the tangible actions needed to achieve the greater goal.
It is equally important to evaluate and celebrate your successes. It is easy to feel discouraged when we don’t accomplish everything we set out to do, or we compare our life to the perfect picture painted on social media. By referring back to our list of successes and achievements, we can recognize and acknowledge our progress, which will help keep us motivated.
Motivation comes from fulfillment, but it also comes from within. According to an article in Psychology Today, when you complete a task and feel that sense of accomplishment, your brain releases dopamine, known as the “feel good” hormone, which will motivate you to follow through on other goals.
It is easy to become overwhelmed with our day-to-day obligations, work-life balance, and societal pressures. Creating and making use of a list can help us feel more productive, reduce mental clutter, and relieve stress. Hanging your list of goals in a place of prominence will help to motivate you and inspire action. Lists are valuable tools that can help us create real change in our lives. They encourage us, keep us on track, and remind us of all that is possible.
What’s one thing you hope to cross off your list this week?
Featured Image via Bridgette Colleen