I was reading an online blog recently where the author* was talking about their experience of those “To do” lists within their coaching sessions. (*Nick Arnold: Health & Wellbeing BBC Three).

As soon as things were crossed off his list, more things were added, and his sense of frustration and exhaustion increased. Until his life coach suggested that instead of writing a “To do” list each day, he write an “I want” list.

Very difficult shift that. I tried it for myself. And it takes a supreme effort to get out of the “To do” mentality – even for (or perhaps especially for) a coach!

Arnold writes: “Whereas a ‘to do’ list revolves around the things we feel we need to get done, an ‘I want’ list focuses on the things we want to get done. It’s a way of shifting our focus from the things we’re expected to do towards the things that really matter to us, therein leading to greater life satisfaction.”

Writing “I want to do…” feels difficult as well, but there is a need to get inside why we want to do the things on our list.

The more we connect with the reason behind the task, the more it engages the positive aspect of the task. We start to focus on the positive desire and the outcome. Ultimately it makes the “to do” items more appealing and less like obligation.

And yes, of course, there are things on all our lists that we might never really want to do, but finding the positive results, the real reason behind the task, or even our sense of self satisfaction in completing the task in hand must surely be a big motivator in getting those lists moving again.

Hm…I’m not sure it’s a quick fix – well I know it isn’t. But it certainly might help with the items that seem to be permanently on my list without getting done….

For me, that’s certainly about “cleaning the car” and for a good part of every year “tax return”….

So what’s on your “to do” list today?

And what do you really want to do?