Today’s guest post is from Debbie Haslam, who grew up in Wichita, Kansas before leaving to attend the University of Kansas. There she met her husband who, through his job, quickly moved her back to Wichita. Debbie has four children and is currently the YW president of her ward and spends most of her time hanging out with teenagers.
I love lists. I use them for everything. Grocery lists, packing lists, to-do lists, chore lists, you name it and I will write a list for it. You know the joke we’ve all read on social media sights about writing things on a to-do list that have already been done just so that you can cross it off? Well, I’ve done that too.
In 2009 I picked up a book at the library entitled Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser. One of the suggestions the author made was to sit down and write a list of goals. It even suggested that the list should be as far-fetched and elaborate as you want. So, being the dutiful self-help reader that I am, I did just that. I have a journal entry dated Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 (Seems quite ironic now that I think about it) that lists 32 goals. Just recently I decided to review the entry and see how I have done. The very first item on my list was to mend a relationship with an old friend. I had done that! I immediately grabbed a pen and put a check-mark by the #1 on the page. I had to!
As I continued down the list and found more items I could put check-marks by, I began to feel really excited and successful. Number 10 was to go on family vacations every year. Up to the point of writing the journal entry, we hadn’t been on a vacation with the kids in over five years. We have gone somewhere every summer since 2009. Check that one off too! Number 18 was to earn my college degree. I had quit college back in 1993 when I met and married my husband. I had several credits under my belt, but I had not finished the program. In May of 2011, I finished my degree. So I marked that one off as well. This continued until I had 8 check-marks.
Granted, several of the goals are things that are yet to be accomplished due to time constraints. For example, number 3 was to see all of my children married in the temple (my children are 17, 15, 13 and 4). But what I found fascinating was the fact that several of them had been reached. Klauser went on to give suggestions on how to achieve all of these goals that included the advice to continue to look at them and work on them regularly. I guess I should have written that down. Remember, I wrote the entry in 2009 and just now decided to reread it in 2012. The point is that I was able to reach some of these goal just because I wrote them down. Seems silly, right? But the fact of the matter is I believe it is true.
So I will continue to write lists. I need them. I need them to be more productive in my daily life. I need them to help me remember and organize the busy household of four children. I need them to help with budgeting and planning and managing. Most importantly, I need those lists to make me feel better about myself. If I can check off something from one of my lists, than I have attained a feeling of success. And isn’t feeling successful, even in the little day to day things, what we all need?