I’m a woman of action. I love to “do” things, often lining up activities, taking trips, traveling, touring, and when it came to running my hospitality company, I was completely hands on.  I lived in the land of the to-do list, ultimately causing great risk to my health and well being. Then I learned about the concept of a “To-Be List,” and everything changed.

What is a To-Be List?

Stick with me because this is a bit of a head trip for most people who have spent their whole life “doing”…

Simply put, instead of focusing on the never-ending list of things you “have to do,” shift your focus to take what your goals are driving you to be.

It’s easy to qualify things in your life that are tangible: make a lot of money, have lots of friends, have a happy love life, be wildly successful, and so on. But to achieve all of these things at a fundamental level requires less doing, and more being.  

Why Should You Write a To-Be List?

I used to spend a lot of time worrying about the things that I needed to get done. The unending checklist that always seemed to multiply and the minute I felt like I made a dent, I’d add 20 more things to it.

Since I hit health bottom and began the shift that has brought me to where I currently am, I’ve focused a lot of my energy on what it means “to be” rather than “to do.”

Now, I spend time focusing on attracting health, love, and work that feeds my soul. By feeding the “to be,” I am better able to accomplish the “to do.”

Ultimately, as the saying goes, who you are will determine what you will become.

What Does a To-Be List Look Like?

For me, number one on my list was “to be more healthy.”

I’ve taken many steps to achieve this goal, from trying out different types of exercise and movement to find the ones that speak to me (physically and mentally), to invest in my health and wellness through making better food choices. And to work on my mindset, which influences my choices in health and movement.

The big one though was ultimately leaving the source of stress and anxiety that was negatively impacting my health by quitting my job.

This doesn’t totally solve the problem though. As the saying goes, “Wherever you go, there you are.” I ran myself into the ground using my career as my vehicle. When I left my career, I had to and continue to do a lot of work on myself.

Unfortunately, many people make the mistake of leaving their job, leaving their spouse, and never doing the work that’s required to take a look at how they ended up in that job, or with that spouse in the first place.

For this, who I want to be, informs what I need to do.

If your to be list includes being a better friend, then something you might put on your corresponding to-do list is to spend more quality time with your friends. Consider checking in on your friends that you have, or setting appointments to spend time with them.

Think About it: if you’re a jerk to everyone you meet, yet you still want to be good loyal friends with them, chances are you won’t be able to make your to-do list happen anytime soon. However, if you’re open to being warm, authentic, and to new situations and people, your chances of nurturing loyal friendships are bound to happen.

This is the act of taking a step back from your checklist of things you have to DO and, instead, ask yourself, “Who do I need to become to get all of the things I desire?” This question can be the gut check that gets you results far more quickly (and with a lot less worry or anxiety!) than any amount of to-do lists prior.

I love this question too because it forces a level of self-reflection that can be both painful and energizing! 

What’s on My To-Be List?

I have come to approach my to-be list in two ways.

  1. Utilizing the productivity concept of picking three tasks to complete every day, crush those tasks and repeat. When it comes to my to-be list, I focus on three words that are sort of a theme for my life. My words are adventure, freedom, and balance. I try to align the choices that I make every day to reflect those three words and what they mean.
  2. I wanted to make healthy my default state. In order to accomplish this, I found an eating plan that I enjoyed, worked for my schedule and gave me energy. I tried tons of different workout modalities to find ones that I enjoy so it’s not a struggle to show up for them. The third part is establishing the correct mindset so I read a lot (usually articles that speak to me on Medium and Blinkist) and I meditate via the Calm Ap). I also spend time with those who make me happy which is primarily my husband, my son, and my doggies.
  3. My priorities are self-care, learning, and my family (As in being the type of mom and wife that I want to be and that also makes me feel fulfilled.)

To be lists are sometimes more reflective of to-do lists and this can be beneficial.

Practicing Mantras

To make myself extra mindful about my intentions I actually include mantras on my reminders list on my iPhone and when I read through my to-do list every couple of days there are some to-be reminders as well.

My current ones are I am limitless. I am free. I am perfectly healthy and well.

Focus on some mantras that help you envision the kind of person you ultimately want to be. So for example, if your goal is to be less stressed out, a mantra might be something like, I am calm. I feel light and free. I am able to handle the day to day stressors that come into my life.

Just Be, Baby

When you shift your mindset to focus on the person you want to be, what you need to do to achieve that will become much more apparent, and as a result, you will reach your goals far more quickly.

Just making a “to-be” list is a tangible step in the right direction of reaching your highest potential.

What’s on your “to-be” list? Pin the below pin to Pinterest or share your thoughts below.

Writing a to-be list can be so much more enlightening than a standard to-do list, acting as a guide for you to accomplish your goals.