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Do you have a to-do list? Most people do, and it’s an essential tool for staying organized. But there’s another list that might be even more important than your list of to-do’s: the to-be list.
What if it wouldn’t matter what you accomplished during the day? What if checking off your to-dos would be a side product of who you are and how you live?
That’s precisely what your to-be list does. It helps you focus on who you are and want to be the same way a to-do list enables you to get stuff done.
What is a to-be list?
When to-do lists are all about what action you should take and making sure that everything gets done, a to-be list is a list of the kind of person you aspire to be, either today or in the future.
Your to-be list is an inventory of
It’s a combination of core
It is a list of who you want to be, regardless of what you do or accomplish.
- “Clean the house” goes on your to-do list.
- “I’m joyful while cleaning and grateful for having a home” goes on your to-be list.
Why have a to-be list
Creating your to-be list is an excellent way to reflect, motivation and growth.
By writing out your list and reflecting on your core
Your to-be list will be unique to you and can change over time as your
How to create a to-be list
Creating your to-be list is easier than you think.
Take a piece of paper or print out the cute & free printable to-be list (you can find it at the end of this post).
- Start by setting aside some quiet time for reflection. Think about the kind of person you want to be – how do you want to show up in the world?
- Make a list of your core
values, characteristics, and qualities that you aspire to have. Be creative – don’t limit yourself.
- Focus on making actionable statements that are clear and tangible, like “I demonstrate patience with others” or “I face challenging situations with confidence.”
Finally, review your list and prioritize what’s most important to you.
Example of my to-be list
On a typical day, my to-be list looks something like this:
- I’m creative when writing the Saturday Letter and designing new printables.
- I’m patient if (and when!) my hubby forgets to take out the trash.
- I’m organized when I plan a new project.
- I’m resilient when faced with any challenge.
- I’m relaxed, joyful, and witty when spending time with my loved ones.
And when I’ve internalized my to-be list, I’m ready to tackle my to-do lists.
And so can you.
How to use a to-be list daily
Making your to-be list a part of your daily life is critical to ensuring that it becomes more than just words on paper.
Take the time each morning or evening to read through it – it will help remind you of who you want to be and the type of fulfilling life you want to lead.
So instead of just focusing on checking things off your to-do list and calling it a day, you’ll write down who you want to be while doing those tasks.
When tackling your to-do list today, do you want to be mindful of your time, organized, and disciplined? Do you want to be creative, energized, and proactive?
Write down who you want to be for the day and use it as a reminder.
And when obstacles come your way, think about how you want to face them. Do you want to be patient, focused, and resilient? Do you want to be open-minded and compassionate?
And when the day ends, take a few minutes to reflect and appreciate how you showed up in the world.
Your to-be list should include phrases that help remind you to stay true to yourself, like “I am kind,” “I am creative,” “I am ambitious,” and so on.
The big picture is more important than sweating the small stuff.
It’s easy to slide into being stressed, overwhelmed, and negative, so writing down the qualities and
It’s good to remember that this list is never set in stone; it’s a reminder that can help you grow and stay on course.
What about the not-so-good days when you don’t get anything done from your to-do list?
Let’s say you didn’t get anything done from your to-do list. (Btw, I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me.) If you were the person from your to-be list, you could still call the day a success!
And let’s say you were not the person from your to-be list; it’s still ok. The next day, you can write on your to-be list: I’m understanding and forgiving when I’m not on my A game.
So next time you write your to-do list, take a few moments to think about who you want to be for the day. So check your calendar (and to-do list), see what’s ahead, and think about what qualities,
The important question to ask at the end of the day
The essential question to ask at the end of the day should not just be: Was I productive enough today, and did I check off many things from my to-do list?
It should also be: did I stay true to myself and embody the qualities and
Asking this question can help keep you motivated and track your growth. It’ll make staying focused and developing self-compassion easier when things don’t go as planned.
Download: free printable to-be list (6 different designs)
Choose your favorite from the free printable To-Be Lists below.
More printable to-do lists?
You might also like these cute to-do and not to-do lists:
Your to-be list is a powerful reminder of who you want to be and how you want to show up in this world. It’s an excellent tool for personal reflection, motivation, and growth.
You might have heard this phrase: we’re human beings, not human doings. So remember also to be while you do.
Psst! So, what’s on your to-be list? I’d love to hear it!