There were many moments leading up to my Intentional Living journey that triggered a need for change. But it wasn’t until one day, when everything felt hopeless, that my journey to a new life began. If you want to hear that story, listen to the Pilot episode of the Do the Damn Thing Podcast. But today, I want to talk specifically about a list. It was one quiet day in June of 2020 when I sat down in my mom’s house with just my thoughts, and I made a list. This list changed my entire life. I encourage every coaching client, friend, and human on their healing journey to practice this list. Making this list will help you create effective and lasting change for the rest of your life. It will help you begin your intentional living journey and put you on the path to changing your life in 2023.
Here’s the thing about this list, writing it won’t create change; looking at it won’t create change. Creating the list is just the first step in your journey. But once you make this list, it’s like a catapult for change. There’s just no going back. So what is this infamous list that will change your life? In so many scenarios in our life, work, money, relationships, etc., we feel so out of control of our circumstances. But the truth is, we’re in control of far more than we realize. This list is about writing down everything that is in your control and everything out of your control. Then, once you’ve made your very extensive lists, it’s time to take control. This list is about gaining clarity and insight into how you can change your life. It’s not about seeing where you’ve failed, but where you can succeed.
The List that will Change Your Life in 2023
To make your list, all you’ll need is a pen, two pieces of paper, and a quiet space. The first sheet will be labeled “In Control,” and the second, “Out of Control.” On paper one, you’re going to write down everything (and I mean every little thing), you can think of that you’re in control of in your life. There is nothing too small to put on this list–from the color of your nails to the cleanliness of your home. Then, on the second sheet of paper, you’re going to write down everything in your life that’s out of your control. For example, job hunting. You’re in control of whether or not you apply to jobs, how many you apply to, and how much effort you put into the application, but you’re not in control of getting the job.
the start of change
The list is only the beginning of this journey. Making this list doesn’t change anything about your life, it’s what you do with the list that creates change. Once you feel like you’ve completed the list, whether it takes you a few hours or a few weeks to mull over, it’s to address what’s actually on it. Take a moment to really look at and study the “Out of Control” list. Really consume what’s on the list and how it makes you feel. Once you feel like you’ve really read it through and truly understand how much is out of your control, toss the list. Throw it away, rip it to shreds and bury it, burn it; do whatever feels symbolic to surrendering what’s on that list to the universe. Then, once you’re ready, take the list of “In Controls,” and take control of ONE THING.
The point of this exercise is to create long-term change. You’re not going to change your life overnight. You’re not going to implement 30 new habits in a week. It’s about seeing small progress over time. This list will act as a guidebook for the rest of your life. That’s also why this blog is says 2023, and not “How to Change Your Life on January 1st.” It’s about creating long-term and lasting change; that’s living intentionally.
The Journey starts with a single action
As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. There is a reason we try over and over again to change our lives or the circumstances of our lives and it doesn’t work. It’s usually because our approach lends to so much change all at once, which is why we take one thing at a time on our list. We can’t change everything about our lives in one go. It takes time to establish new habits and change our mindset. When you’re ready to take action on your list, start with something that feels easy or fun. The reason establishing habits can feel like such a feat sometimes is because we’ve wanted to create this change for so long, but before we even begin, we’re telling ourselves we’ll fail.
But, when you break things into little steps, the tasks don’t seems as daunting. Our motivation is built on progress. The moment we start to see a little progress from a small habit, we’re ready tot tackle another one. And over time, progress will feel more linear and easy to see. Changing your life isn’t about waking up one day with a spark of motivation to overhaul your life. That’s unrealistic and impossible to do. To change the circumstances, habits, and mindset of our lives, we have to see it as a journey from here on out. Intentional living is a journey that begins today and lasts forever.
Inspire Yourself in 2023
Creating these lists will help you change your life. It’s incredible what looking at a sheet of paper full of honesty can do to you. Keep in mind, this list is not permission to berate yourself with mean comments like, “wow I’m so lazy,” or “how could I be so unmotivated?” This list should only spark inspiration. It never serves us to talk down to ourselves, so you might as well pat yourself on back and be proud of the action you’re taking. As you begin writing your list, keep in mind your long-term goals and vision for yourself. When you’re ready, start taking the action that feels good, because this list will help you change your life in 2023.
grab a coffee and listen to the podcast!
Want to know more about this week’s topic?
Head over to the Do the Damn Thing Podcast on Apple or Spotify and listen to the conversation! The podcast is an open forum conversation where we dive even deeper into all that is intentional living.