One List, Two Lists

I’m not happy with some things in my life, some things I need to change. I was feeling uncomfortable about it this morning and I heard my counselor’s voice saying “journal!” So I started typing but didn’t get really far. I decided to make a list of the things I wanted to change, the things I want to do better.

Before I could start, I thought… I’ve done this before. Many times. And I usually end up just feeling bad about it all and throwing the list away. Or I make the list, try to live up to some unrealistic standard of fixing everything at once, and give it up within days. Or hours. No cap.

Side note: Did you know that no cap is like saying “no lie” or “I’m telling the truth here”? Yeah, I just learned that on a post about tween/teen lingo. I knew some of it – bussin bussin and sus from my own kiddo. Have to admit I haven’t heard no cap yet but I’m totally ready now. And for the record, I will probably never use that term again.

So my list. I decided to make two lists – One of the things I want to work on and one of the things I’m really good at. And I was only going to make it even. I would not add one to the “work on” list unless I already had one in the “I’m successful at this” list to balance it out.

This really worked for me. It forced me to notice, think about, and write about things I can be proud of. It took the focus from “Here’s all the things I need to change because I’m such a loser” to “I have a lot to be proud of, I work hard and accomplish good things AND there are some things that I also want to improve on.”

I highly recommend this strategy when you’re feeling in the mood for some self-improvement. Do not focus only on what you feel are your weaknesses lest you begin to feel like a disgruntled pelican. Instead, look at the radiant parts of your life and acknowledge that we all have places we can improve on.

I am a highly effective, successful teacher who loves her students and changes lives…. and I need to work on improving my healthy eating habits to better take care of myself.

I am a great Mom raising an amazing daughter which is no joke in this world… and I would like to get 10,000 steps per day, even on weekends, in any way I choose to improve my physical health.

I have a beautiful blog and my own God-given writing style that I know has helped women…. and I would like to be more consistent in posting because I believe it’s a way God has invited me to reach others.

I am pretty good at finding joy in everyday ordinary moments… and I would like to get back to my habit of meditation every day for mental health and the physical benefits as well.

My friends, it feels good to post these things. Not in a bragging way, but in an “I have areas I desperately need to improve on but I’m also bringing a lot of good to the table as well.”

I could have sat down and written: I need to lose weight because I’m fat and I need to move more because I’m lazy and I need to blog more but I failed at that too….

Oh, the spiral I could have taken this morning.

But how can I call myself lazy when I have my own house, I’m a single Mom, a teacher, a dog mom, a blogger… etc. I can’t. I am recognizing the good I bring and allowing myself the grace to look with love on the things I want to change.

I can’t call myself a failure when right next to my list of things to change is a list of some of my best accomplishments.

It’s a good balance. It’s ok to want to improve and it’s ok to acknowledge our strengths as well. In fact, I think we should do both for the health of our self-esteem, self-talk, and mental state!

At the end of this journaling exercise this morning, I created a beautiful wallpaper background for my phone of the things I’d like to see in my life on a regular basis. Some of them I am already good at and some are improvements that I will be working on. But every time I open my phone, it makes me smile and is a quick reminder to prioritize these things. Here’s my list:

If you decide to do something similar, make sure to balance each side! Not one list, but two and keep it even! Happy Sunday Evening Friends!

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