List Your Way to Self-Discovery

Martha Stewart, one of the most creative people living on the planet, is a list maker. On her Website, one can find a printable list for almost everything: spring cleaning lists, moving lists, home maintenance lists, stocking your pantry list, and literally, the list goes on. Traditionally, a list is a helpful tool to remind us of what needs to be done and keep us on task. Whether it is errands that need running, tasks that need completing, or groceries that need purchasing, making a list and following it brings order and keeps chaos at bay.

Recently, I went to the bookstore, an errand that was on my to-do list, and on the way to the cashier found an interesting book about making lists. However, this book is not at all about listing what needs to get done; it is about making lists as a way to self-discovery. I quickly thumbed through it and noticed it was filled with pages of one-liners followed by blank lines. Intrigued, I impulsively bought the book, List Your Self (Andrews McMeel) by Ilene Segalove and Paul Bob Velick. After closer inspection, I discovered that this is book filled with journal prompts in the form of making lists. The prompts are thought provoking and designed to encourage serious self-reflection, leading to a deeper knowledge of self, goals, and dreams.

Unfortunately, I have not developed the habit of journaling, even though I know it is one of the best practices for personal development. But, this book is making it fun and easy. While you hardly know you're recalling experiences and processing feelings, answering the prompt through making a list encourages you to write about your fears, loves, life changes, friendships, wishes, and so much more. Co-author Ilene Segalove, who is a book editor and writing coach, says, "List Your Self unlocks the door to your personal identity. It's an easy, provocative, and liberating opportunity to get to know yourself."

A few examples of the prompts include: List all the thoughts and activities in your day that physically drain you; List the things you will not tolerate no matter what the cost; List what you would say if the one that got away showed up in your room; and List the businesses you wish you presently owned. While this is only four of 175 prompts in the book, each one of them requires some soul-searching and reveals pieces of our inner-selves.
Making a list from a prompt is just not as daunting as journaling from scratch. I sit down, I reflect, I make the list, and I'm done for the day. What a way to get your creative juices flowing, your emotional burdens released, or just blow off some steam. I am having so much fun with this, I am including a few personal lists below:

Making lists are pleasurable, and what an escape. I forgot I was even writing an article when I was in the midst of completing my lists. I was fully entranced by my thoughts. There are book clubs, Bunco groups, Bridge clubs, and garden clubs, but I think it would be fun to have a list club. A small group could gather, pose a prompt, contemplate, and discuss. Listing Your Self.what a great way to awaken your brain, rouse your soul, and get creatively involved with yourself.

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