How a 100 Things List Can Help you Live a More Intentional Life
This week’s post is a guest post by Maegan O’Loughlin of ThisBlueDress.com. Maegan, along with her five sisters, are all contributors to This Blue Dress, which is just one of the ways their blog stands out (be sure to read the story about THE Blue Dress – blog and social media links below). As soon as I read Maegan’s post for today, I knew I immediately had to try writing out my own 100 thing list, and I found that not only is it something right up my alley, it is something I think can be useful for many people out there! So, without further ado, read on for Maegan’s awesome 100 things list activity, and do one of your own!
I am a List Girl. I have all sorts of lists to help me stay on track with my goals and to help my family be somewhat organized. Sometimes though, too many long lists can make me feel guilty about all I’m NOT accomplishing. That is not a way to live intentionally and with joy!
When I find myself stuck in a rut, overwhelmed, or needing inspiration, I use a different kind of list that always helps me be more mindful: a 100 Things List.
How Do I Make a 100 Things List?
A 100 Things List is simply a brainstorming tool, no guilt here! You choose a question or topic and write 100 answers in one brief setting, without editing or worrying about repeats. This stretches your brain on the topic and will help you find out-of-the-box ideas or notice recurrent themes (repeat or similar answers).
I’d like to share a step-by-step process of the 100 Things List that has made the most impact on my life: 100 Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die.
- Set aside some alone time when you are alert and relaxed. I’m a busy mom of four and wear lots of hats, so I know it can sometimes be tricky to do! However, this exercise is much more effective when you can think clearly and without interruption. In my case, my husband took my kids for a little walk one Sunday afternoon.
- Choose a question/topic. In this case, it was my bucket list of things to do before I die. I’ve also done a list of things I would like to do in my spare time, things I would like to own or make, and things I want to write about. Your topic can be anything! 100 Things to make for dinner, things you’re grateful for, people who have influenced you for good, your spring bucket list. Anything.
- Use a word processor or notebook and write 100 answers related to your topic as fast as you can. I liked using Microsoft Word because I was able to have it numbered automatically and could type my answers quickly.
- After writing your list, take a short brain break. Get a drink of water, stretch, pray, meditate. Just something to refresh your mind before you focus again on your list.
- Highlight or record recurring themes or your favorite answers. With my Life Bucket List topic, I saw recurring themes of Service, Art, Family/Marriage goals. I made a little key with a color for each of these topics and highlighted items that fell under those themes. I also wrote twice that I want to learn how to make amazing tacos and pizza. 😊 This step is the most helpful for me in applying the list to my life. Am I making time to do these things that are really important to me?
How Can a 100 Things List Help Me Be More Mindful?
My 100 Things Lists have helped me be able to see what goals, dreams, and activities are most important to me in my life. Just one recent example: I have been doing a side-hustle for the past 18 months, and recently I’ve been resenting anytime I spend on it. I’ve made excuses to keep doing it because we’re working to get out of debt, and I’ve made sure it doesn’t cut into family time.
But when I reviewed my “100 Things I’d Like to Do Before I Die” for this post, I realized this side hustle doesn’t relate to a single item anymore!! So many other things on that list could help me earn money, not take me away from my family, and I would actually LOVE doing them!
Our lives are made up of many seemingly small, day-to-day decisions in how we use our time. I want to claim more of those minutes and seconds for meaningful things by consciously choosing the things that matter most to me!
Have you ever made a 100 Things List? It would be a great companion to Laura’s vision board exercise!
Maegan O’Loughlin is the oldest of six sisters who blog at ThisBlueDress.com. She loves to blog about living joyfully, family traditions, and practical tips for mothers and mothers-at-heart.
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I love this exercise! I am an avid journal writer and list maker so this is definitely going on my to-do list 🙂
I love it too. I did a 100 things ‘gratitude’ as my first one and I can’t wait to do more!
Great post Maegan! This sounds like a neat exercise to try!
It is such an awesome idea and activity!
I LOVE THIS!!!!! Now I need to think about what my first list will be!! 🙂
I know! There are so many awesome options.
This is a great idea and would be a fantastic activity to start with to refresh your goals list for the year, or the next 5 years.
Yes! That would be!
Now this opens up a whole new world and way of thinking for me. Can’t wait to use some of your ideas.
It was really eye opening for me as well!
Wow, I hadn’t heard of this before. I will definitely have to do it myself!
I would highly recommend it!
What an interesting exercise. I really like how Maegan went back through the list and put items into categories so she could see themes.
I loved that about it too. It makes it really easy to see!
This is an awesome idea!! I LOVE making lists and I can’t wait to try this exercise! Not only will I enjoy doing it, but it will be helpful too!
I am a list maker as well!
This is a great idea! I love the idea of putting together a list of 100 things on your bucket list. I need to find some time to do this. Thanks for the inspiration!
The great thing about it is that it doesn’t take too much time!
Love this idea! I’m a list maker, too (sadly, not so much a list do-er) 🙂
Ha! I can relate 🙂
I love that you color coded the list! I’m an avid organizer, so that made my type A brain happy!
I just started my list of 100 things… maybe I’m old. I could only think of 28 things. But I’ll keep trying.
Yes, do keep trying! Just write down everything and anything you can think of without putting too much thought into it.
Listicles are the thing! But doing one for yourself is such a great brainstorming idea for insight and direction. Thanks
Listicles! I haven’t heard that term before, but I love it!
I like the idea of doing it on a specific topic rather than just whatever is in your head. I also really like how you have done the highlighting. I never thought about doing that. I am going to have to try it.
Do you think that using a timer to make sure you stay on task would be beneficial to this exercise?
Yes, I think that could be super helpful. However, if you think it would stress you out more, then maybe try without. Maegan’s purpose of the exercise is to just write down whatever comes to mind without over thinking it. If a timer would help motivate you, then I would say try it with! I really like the idea of using a timer…I think I will try it next time I do the exercise!
[…] 100 Things List […]
Nice tips! Love the idea
This seems like a fun exercise. I can see a few applications for this.
Thanks for sharing!
I hope you find it useful! I have been loving it myself!
I love to list things. It’s an easy way to figure things out.
I agree! It’s so helpful!
I really like that you talked about how doing things like your side hustle that don’t serve your 100 things list is not a great use of time anymore. So many times I put making some extra cash above my priorities. Thank you for all the self-care inspiration.
[…] life. But, if you’re not really even sure what your purpose is, I would invite you to try the 100 things list. For your list topic, start by just writing down things that inspire you, move you, that you enjoy […]