Some of the most successful people in the world point to list-making as an essential weapon in their productivity war chest. Some well-known list makers include Sir Richard Branson, Thomas Edison, Sandra Bullock, Leonardo da Vinci, Bobby Flay, just to name a few. Each of these masters swears to the power of lists to help them achieve their goals in their respective fields. So, can making lists work for weight loss too? Absolutely!
First, let’s take a look at why using lists can make such a positive difference in our daily lives. The psychology behind the tactic claims that lists help us to clear out the information overload inundating our brains by organizing it into simple, easy-to-digest chunks. They assist us in reframing a project, turning something that at first seems amorphous and overwhelming into a well-defined and totally doable undertaking. Also, the more a list is drilled down into its subatomic parts the better, because accomplishing each task is that much easier. And is there ANY better feeling than crossing something off your to-do list (ahhhhh….)?
If breaking down a perceived giant goal into its tiny parts is what lists do to help us win in life, then you should start using them immediately as part of your weight loss efforts if you aren’t already.
Let’s take an example of a woman who has a goal to lose 50 pounds. What kind of lists would she use to help her achieve her goal? Since the most important component of any weight loss program is food, the most obvious kind of list is a grocery list. Where she might have gone to the market without a plan before, a list with foods that promote good health and weight loss will keep her focused and prevent her from drifting into the aisles filled with sweets and chips.
Another type of list can be made for incorporating exercise into her daily routine. This one may be a bit tougher than the grocery shopping list because we all know how much people love going to the gym (cue the groans). In this case, the first goal she has to achieve is actually getting out of bed and going to the gym. Using a list, she can make this process easier. Rather than just create a simple list of different types of exercises, the first thing on her list might be ‘call the gym to see what time they open.’ That would be a simple task to complete that works towards her goal. Once she does that, and crosses it off her list (first feel good ahhhh moment), the next item could be ‘put on running shoes.’ It sounds ridiculous, but getting to that level of detail on your list actually works. It’s such a simple thing to do. Once she puts on her running shoes, she can then cross that off her list (there’s that ahhhh feeling again). Next, ‘drive to the gym.’ Check (ahhhhh)! And so on and so on until she’s completed 30 minutes walking on the treadmill.
The other benefit of making lists is that it forces you to become aware of all of the little steps that go into achieving a goal and prioritizing them. We only have so many hours in a day, so it’s best to be clear about how you are going to spend them.
Finally, while they are cool, you don’t need any fancy device or app to create your lists. Just whip out a good old-fashioned pen and paper, and you’re off to the races.
Now get to making those lists so you can reach your ultimate “ahhhhh” of weight loss success!