In the book Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be More Productive, Highly Successful, and Less Stressed, author Paula Rizzo talks about the many helpful lists we can make.* For Rizzo lists have been a life-saver, helping her do everything from finding an apartment in Manhattan to navigating her busy days as a TV producer.
I make a lot of lists, too, because they help me organize the random racing thoughts preoccupying my mind. They help me break down messy, complicated things into feasible smaller steps. They help me feel less overwhelmed. They help me create a plan of action. They give my life structure. And lists even give me insights into who I am.
We can make lists for all sorts of subjects, habits, activities and ideas to support us in practicing compassionate self-care and boosting our well-being.
Fittingly, here’s a list of the many different lists you can make for just that:
- Things I’ll say yes to because they serve me.
- Things I’ll say no to because they don’t serve me.
- Everything that fulfills me.
- My dreams, wants and wishes. Then pick the top three. Break them down into small actionable steps — how you’ll make them come true.
- People I can count on.
- How I’ll take care of myself during stressful times.
- Ways I love to move my body.
- What’s been worrying me lately, and what I’ll do with each worry (take some sort of action, talk about it, let it go).
- My favorite foods and flavors, and how I can incorporate them into my everyday.
- What I love about my body.
- How I can support others in building a better body image.
- Questions I can reflect on to help me make wise decisions.
- My mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs, and how I’ll respond to each of these needs.
- What I’d like to add to my home (or eliminate) so it feels more like a sanctuary.
- Places I’d love to go on vacation.
- How I can make a weekend at home feel like a relaxing getaway.
- Ways I can tune into and reconnect with my body.
- Magazines I can read that actually make me feel good about myself and truly support me in practicing kind self-care.
- Top three unrealistic expectations I’m letting go.
- My top three to five values, and how I’ll live them every day.
- Books I’ll reread when I need to feel better.
- Books I’ll reread when I need inspiration.
- Why I am not a number on the scale or a size in a clothing tag.
- New activities I’d love to try.
- Things I’d like to appreciate more on a daily basis.
- Things that help me to feel good in my own skin.
- Kind ways I can talk to my inner critic.
- Quotes that inspire me.
- Jokes that make me laugh.
- Healthy activities I can turn to when I’m upset, such as journaling, walking, talking to a friend.
- My favorite ways to play.
- The many ways I’ll focus on my well-being, and not my weight.
- Why my body is powerful.
- Ways I can enchant myself. This weekend. And every day.
What lists will you be writing?
*I wrote about the book in this piece on Psych Central.