Over the last few years I’ve used 3×5 index cards to jot down things that I need to do more often.   These were often written in response to a particular need I felt I had or a specific situation.  Some where just thoughts that I had to try to make my life a little better.   It started simple with a note to “Go outside and play with the dog.”  It expanded to 32 ideas that have helped me stay grounded.  Here is what the two cards look like (notice they are stapled together – I should have used a larger index card):

Whats important to me

I have this posted on my bulletin board in front of me everyday.  I don’t always do these…but I often do.  It helps ground me and keep me motivated.  It helps me escape the trap of working all the time.   I hope that it helps keep me balanced.  I thought you might enjoy.

Here are the items in case you can’t read my bad handwriting along with some additional commentary:

1. Go outside and play with the dog

2. Take a five minute stretch break

3. Focus on the BIG stuff

4. Drink tea

5. Write thank you’s

6. Call old friends [We never seem to do this enough]

7. Eliminate the trivial

8. Clean up after yourself [this was in response to my overly messy desk]

9. Appreciate the moment

10. Get involved

11. Surprise someone by doing something nice

12. Take a walk

13. Notice the little things

14. Cook a good meal (at least) once a week [ok, I just added in the “at least” – really, just once a week isn’t nearly enough]

15. Enjoy the mundane

16. Have coffee with acquaintances

17. Escape e-mail

18. Drive out and watch the sunset [I live in the city and it is hard to see a good sunset on the horizon like in my youth in Iowa]

Moving to the second card…

19. Think ahead, not behind [I tend to worry too much about what I should have done and not what I need to do]

20. Make a commitment a week

21. Watch less t.v.

22. Keep a journal

23. Buy flowers

24. Appreciate touch and smell

25.  Take big breathes [I find that it helps to calm one self and refocus energy]

26. Change the negative patterns

27. Move around – change the scene

28. Motivate yourself

29. Embed beauty in your memory

30. Stop-think-act

31. Pay for memories [not things]

32. Write down good stories

33. [Express your gratitude] – I need to add this to the card!

If you have other ideas or comments to add to this list – I would love to hear them.  Add them to the comments section below!