I really like James Altucher’s suggestion to scrap your to-do list, or at least minimize it greatly, and replace it with an “I Did” list that details your daily or weekly accomplishments. The idea is that the traditional to-do list causes stress and a feeling of defeat when, inevitably, we fail to check everything off that list at the end of the day. In contrast, an I-did list rewards you with a feeling of accomplishment, which in turn motivates you to get even more done the next day.
Taking this one step further, I realized that I rarely follow my to-do lists once I’ve created them. If the list doesn’t serve its purpose of keeping track of what it is I’m supposed to do that day, and only leaves me feeling overwhelmed and anxious later that night when I realize I put more on it than I could handle, then I’m all for trashing it. To be honest, I haven’t actually sat down to write out an I-did list, but just thinking through what I did over the course of my day helps with that good feeling of a job well done.
So why not change things up this year and forget about what you want to accomplish is 2015? Chances are, like me, you already know what you need to do this year, and you require neither the “resolve” nor the written list to get those things done. Instead, take a moment to reflect on the stuff you got done in 2014, whether as a parent, a professional, both, or neither.
My list includes:
• Raised a toddler and preschooler in a healthy, happy home.
• Finally visited the doctor to get some much-needed prescriptions.
• Took my career to the next level by accepting an opportunity to work alongside a master in my field.
• Made efforts to improve my marriage – they were successful, according to various measures.
• Hosted holiday dinners for my extended family for the first time since buying our house five years ago.
• Stopped using credit cards, and paid down some debt.
• Achieved successful outcomes for several grateful clients.
• Surprised my sister and her fiancé for Christmas by gifting them with their wedding favors and bridal jewelry.
• Night-weaned my toddler daughter. We’re working on potty training now.
• Finally updated my contact lens prescription and tried soft lenses for the first time.
• Threw Mackenzie her fourth birthday party at our house, with a water slide bouncy castle, with my husband’s help.
• Mackenzie also started reading sight words and simple sentences. I’m not sure whether I can take full credit for this, but I like to think reading all those boring kids’ books to her at bedtime had some role in this.
• Baked my first cake from scratch – red velvet. In case you are wondering, like my father-in-law, what “not from scratch” means, it means I did not make it from a box. Apparently some people are unfamiliar with the concept of store-bought cake mix.
• Made some important decisions: that I’m ok with not having a third child; that it’s fine that I’m now in my mid-30s; that you can have a moral compass without worshipping a deity; that blonde and red are definitely colors that do not work for my hair.
• Supported a number of family members, friends and colleagues during times of stress and fear.
Wow, that definitely feels better than resolving to do a bunch of stuff in 2015 just because the calendar says it’s January. Why not share a few items from your own I-did list in the comments below?
image via wikimedia commons