Making the List

Some people make New Year’s Resolutions while others tend their goal-gardens year-round in hopes of keeping the weeds out and encouraging the flowers of progress. Whatever your method, instilling a passion to improve makes a difference in whether you’ll be successful wholly or partly in your personal improvement endeavors. And what better way to crack the steel doors of success than by setting passion-inspired goals.

Another way to approach the goals, resolutions, and to dos of our lives is to create a lifetime achievement list. I did one of these about ten years ago, and have to admit that I haven’t been as proactive in maintaining it as I should have, so after I finish writing this I need to go check my list to see whether weeds or flowers have sprouted there since last I looked.

The Houston Chronicle this morning carried William Hageman’s article from the Chicago Tribune “A List for a Lifetime – Catalog what you want to do in life — then do it” chronicling the lists of three people who’ve embraced this approach to goal setting with great success. A lifetime list is one where you list all the things you’d like to do during your life, so long as they are realistic (defined as obtainable, feasible…”I want to fly to the moon” is not realistic, but “get my pilot’s license” certainly is). When I created my list long ago, I structured it as the “100 things I want to do in life.” I’ll admit that I didn’t unwrap 100 things from my psyche, but I now realize that setting a finite number makes no sense. The point is the process, not the count.

So brew up a fresh cup of coffee, let the cat outside, put the phone in the freezer, and spend some quality time with yourself and a yellow pad and pen. Find a comfy chair and let your mind wander, writing down anything that surfaces that reflects your passions, lost opportunities, or just cool things you think would be sweet to do. Then keep this list handy through the years and add new things as they unfold and revise to suit your evolving life. It’s okay to laugh or cry at the absurdity of your choices, so long as you keep moving forward. When success strikes, pause and let its sweet taste inspire you for even greater things as you make your lifetime achievement list that much shorter.

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