We’re all familiar with “To-Do” lists and the stress and shame that can come along with doing what we think we should be doing, while rushing around trying to feel accomplished in our busyness.
We’ve mastered the art of exhausting ourselves, in an effort to feel good enough and worthy of a break—happy hour or vacation—at least I have.
This year, I’m trying something different. I’m creating a “To-Be” list for myself—with no stress or judgement involved. I’m going at whatever pace feels good, being extremely gentle with myself and focusing on peace and slowing down.
Here is an example of my “To-Be” list—it has everything to do with how it makes me feel:
I’m discovering that—even if I am feeling angry, for example—if I refer to my list, lean into the qualities I want to embody and act the way I want to feel (confident, courageous, authentic, vulnerable and kind), I end up experiencing just that and my anger is gone.
If you’re having a hard time making your list, ask yourself what qualities make you feel your absolute best. Not the fantasy version of you, but the real you.
The fantasy version of me is adventurous and loves to try extreme sports, climb huge mountains and go camping—but the real me craves quiet time at home by myself to rest, recharge, reflect, read and write.
This is your list, so think about what makes you feel really happy, not others.
Loving, kind, accepting, honest, forgiving, non-judgmental, open, receptive, peaceful, attentive, warm and friendly are some words that come to mind for me.
Another way to come up with your “To-Be” list is to ask yourself: “Who do I need to become to get what I want and deserve in life?”
If I want to attract a loving partner who treats me well—and is romantic, thoughtful and kind—then my “To-Be” list would be:
The key is to treat myself how I would like to treated by my partner.
I have struggled with dating men who were emotionally unavailable. It’s only when I realized, I too, was being emotionally unavailable, that I was able to work on and heal my inner wounds and begin attracting men who were available like me.
Instead of recreating the same relationship over and over again (been there, done that!), by deliberately choosing how and who I want to be—I take back control and power and let that lead the way, not my wounds and fears. Make sense?
Different days will require different qualities to be added to my list, depending on my schedule and how I am feeling spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.
Here are six proven benefits to creating and (gently) sticking to a “To-Be” list:
1. It helps me slow down, center myself and consider the day ahead. What qualities do I want to embody?
2. I am able to set boundaries. Who or what do I need to say “No” to, so I can stay on track?
3. It gives me quiet consideration to reflect. What am I present to? What is coming up for me?
For example—I feel like I should go to that work event, but I don’t really want to. I’m tired, don’t have any more energy to be “on” and desperately need to clean and organize my house and rest. In the past, I may have gone to the event—and even had fun—but I would feel depleted, and the feeling of abandoning myself and my needs is not self love.
Today, I am committed to practicing self-care and self-love—even if it means disappointing others.
4. I create my own reality, and choose how I will be, regardless of what my day brings me. How do I want to be at work, home, with friends, co-workers, spouse and so on?
So even if I experience rejection in my career or personal life, because I have chosen to be joyful—I will remain joyful, even when I don’t book the job, or my love interest does not call me back like he promised.
5. Taking a more intentional approach to life is empowering. It gives me the opportunity to take my time back, and therefore be more centered, creative and in the flow. I get more done by exerting less effort and feel better doing so.
6. My “To-Be” lists make me more mindful and self aware. My peace of mind and joy are a top priority, making everything else I do in my life (even those “boring” To-Do Lists) more peaceful and joyful as a result.
Write down your “To-Be” list on a piece of paper or in your phone, and take it with you, or refer to it mentally in your mind throughout your day.
Remember, this is a gentle exercise—-so no shame or judgement if you don’t stick to your list, forget or need to skip a day. With practice, it will become like second nature, and you will be building a strong spiritual muscle to guide you.
Author: Kate Eckman
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/anton petukhov