Turning “To Do” Lists into a Spiritual Practice

by Ann McGinnis on July 4, 2012

Looking for the magic bullet to change your “to do” list from drudgery into something exciting? That magic bullet exists. And it’s closer than you think. When life becomes flat and passionless, it’s because we have become flat and passionless.

When that happens, it’s generally because we have gradually shifted our focus from what we love and where we want to go to something outside of ourselves: what we think we should do, what other people are doing compared to us, what we did yesterday that worked.

We forgot our connection to ourselves. And the list of things we set out to accomplish no longer carries our emotional fuel.

No fuel, no fire.
No fire, no passion.
No passion, no great results.

How do we generate the fuel to keep our passion alive and thriving?

Every time we begin the act of setting a goal, we have the opportunity to reconnect with (1) who we really are, (2) what we love, and (3) where we want to take ourselves on this journey called Life. We can come into alignment with ourselves and our universe; and then we’re in the flow, in the zone.

The daily spiritual practice looks like this.

  1. Only set goals that bring you joy (even if getting there may look like “work”). Be emotionally invested in your plan.
  2. Start out on your path, and if you miss your target or the going gets tough, acknowledge the feelings that accompany the breakdown.
  3. Consider feelings like impatience, fear, frustration, or overwhelm (we all have them) as just the dust from taking a little tumble. They are real, and they are a temporary glitch in your travels.
  4. Get up and dust yourself off. Take stock of where you are in relationship to your life and to your goal.
  5.  Then, STOP! This is the most important step. Take the time to remember how much you want that goal. That desire lives right below any negative emotion you are feeling.
  6.  Bring your attention back to what it is you love about your goal and what you are doing.
  7. Let yourself be filled with the pleasure of anticipating success. Your love of what you want is bigger than a tumble in the dust.
  8. Go back to the goal and take one small step in the direction of what you love.
  9. Appreciate yourself. Pat yourself on the back for moving forward.

This process will help keep you in the equation of what you call Life, which will bring joy to you and those around you.

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