I love lists. I love reading them, creating them, and getting inspired by them. There’s just something so efficient about receiving information in list form. Each item on the list is like a bite-sized nugget of information that is easy to swallow and digest. Even if an article is lengthy, it seems to somehow be easier to absorb the information if it’s organized as a list.
In keeping with this spirit, I’ve created a short list of lists for you to make. When you are feeling uninspired, and life feels tough, start working on these lists. Add to them, read what you’ve previously written, and keep them stored in your phone so you can always find them.
The Gratitude List
Everyone talks about being grateful, and remembering to give thanks each day, but how many people truly practice the act of gratitude? I know that I didn’t appreciate the concept of gratitude until I started taking inventory of everything that makes me feel grateful each day. Four years ago, I started a gratitude list in the Notes section of my iPhone. I started with just a few items on my list, but before long, I had hundreds of items on the list. Some of the items weren’t particularly deep. I had material things on the list— like a new handbag, but I also had experiences and people on the list. When I was going through a particularly tough time, the list made me smile and reminded me of all that I have in my life. A gratitude list is a good list to keep. I highly recommend it.
The “Already-Done” List
I am a big fan of To-Do lists. They keep me on track and provide structure to my daily life. But for the purpose of inspiring and lifting your spirits, I encourage you to create an “already-done” list. What is an already-done list? Well, it’s simply a list of your accomplishments over the past year. Think about everything that you’ve managed to get done, and give yourself credit! You do so much. You rock. Take note of it today. In the same way that you might make a list of New Year’s resolutions for the coming year to go to the gym, eat more vegetables, and get more sleep, go ahead and make a list of things that you’ve accomplished in the past 12 months. Get inspired by your own actions!
The Happiness List
When you’re feeling blah, turn to your happiness list. Think of everything that makes you happy, and start making your list. Here are just a few things on my own list that make me happy: ice cream, sunsets, fresh sheets on the bed, and an uninterrupted afternoon in the bookstore. You might find yourself smiling as you create your own list.
The If-Money-Were-No-Object List
Make a list of everything that you would choose to do if money were no object. Ignore your budget, and ignore your current responsibilities. Just imagine what you’d do. Maybe you’d get a pilot’s license and buy your own plane. Maybe you’d travel to the top 50 spas in the world in search of the best massage. Enjoy this fun exercise that will make you smile and give you a glimpse into your wildest dreams.
The Instant-Mood-Booster List
This is a list that you should create when you are feeling vibrant and happy. Think about all of the things that put you in a good mood instantly, and write them all down. When life gets tough, turn to this list, and see if you can incorporate one of your own suggestions into your life. Your list will be specific to you! I know that I feel happier instantly when I declutter my desk or bedside table. I also know that 30-minutes of cardiovascular exercise puts me in a good mood, as well as a trip to the hair salon, a new book or dinner with friends.