Inspire Yourself with Checklists

Inspire Yourself with Checklists

It’s often difficult to inspire yourself to action. Checklists can work wonders in this department, so I wanted to introduce you to them through a quick story.Picture this: you’re slouching on the couch with your feet up and the TV on. You flip through channels, thinking to yourself, “I should really go use that new elliptical machine that I got after New Year.”[You flip channels a few times.]“Jeez! There’s really nothing on! I should stop now and go use that elliptical…But I’ll have to move the laundry off of it before I can use it. Maybe there will be something on if I keep looking…”[You flip channels a few more times, a little more emphatically than before]“OMG! I can’t believe how bad TV is! I should really go exercise…”[Click, click, click, click, CLICK!]


Sound familiar? I know it does to me; I’m writing from personal experience here!

Part of the problem we often face when we want to achieve an intimidating project or goal is that we don’t know where to start, or what to do next, and when we try to organize where to start in our heads, we get overwhelmed pretty quickly.Enter the beloved checklist.

Let’s try the story above again, only this time with a checklist that employs the concept of microresolutions.“I should really go use that new elliptical machine that I got after New Year.” You look away from the TV to the hand-written checklist at your side.

The first thing on the list is: “Take 2 pieces of clothing off of the elliptical every day and put them away, until there is no more laundry on it.” You sigh, and pick up the list and a pen from the counter, go take 2 pieces off of the elliptical. Two of your daughter’s socks. You walk down the hall to put them in her sock drawer, put the list down on top of the dresser, and cross through the first item on the list.Hey, that felt pretty good!

Five minutes later, you’ve removed all of the clothing and debris on the elliptical. You jump on it and so a victory lap for a minute, and then step off to go look at your list again.

“Do 5 pushups in one day.”

You haven’t exercised in a while, and you can barely do 2 pushups at once, but you do 2, and then sit down for a minute to watch some more TV. You take the list with you.

At the next commercial, you go do another pushup. You wait a minute, then eek out 2 more just as your show starts back. You scratch through that line, too, and put an exclamation mark and smiley face at the end. Nice!

By the end of the day, you’ve done 5 things on your checklist. And, even though none of them were major, you feel like a million bucks. You’ve just done more exercise in one day than you’ve done in the past year, and it was as easy as crossing items off a grocery list.Welcome to the wonderful world of microresolutions and checklists!


(Last Updated: April 22nd, 2017)

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