Lists, Habits, & Next
Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 7:50AM
Linda Samuels in 2Do, Charles Duhigg, Motivation, Next Step, action, change, goals, habits, lists, nature, organizing, planning, spring

As I jotted down some notes for today’s post, I realized that literally my next step was just that. Let me explain. The story begins with my trusty electronic “to do” list. I regularly use the 2Do app to help me plan, organize, and manage my action items from tiny “dos” like “Do laundry” or “Buy groceries,” to larger projects such as “Organize 2014 ICD Board Orientation,” or “Plan summer vacation.”

The beauty of 2Do is that I can schedule my action items on certain dates and add customized features like repeating tasks at specific intervals, grouping by type or setting a priority. Once a task is completed, I tap the box to check off the item, a tiny image of a pencil appears, and crosses a line through the words, as in “done!” It’s so satisfying.

This is all background to get to my point. Are you still with me?

One of the things I struggle with is getting enough exercise. I keep telling myself that if I just walked more, a little each day, it would be beneficial for both my mind and body. There’s research to support the health benefit of regular interaction with nature, even if it’s for just five minutes a day. I tried coming up with ideas and incentives to get me up and out, but nothing has worked so far.

The other day I had an “ah-ha.” As I was organizing and reviewing my “to dos,” I knew that in addition to what was already on the list, I also wanted to take a walk. I needed to feel that spring air. So I wouldn’t conveniently forget, I added, “take a walk” to my list. Guess what happened? I took a walk. 

Was my solution that simple? Apparently, it was. Big changes happen with little steps. The idea of “more exercise” was too daunting for me. However, adding a simple, daily repeat on my “to do” list, wasn’t. This made it doable and measureable.

This one small change will encourage other positive changes. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg writes about keystone habits that if altered can have a positive far-reaching influence on other behaviors. I think in taking a daily walk I’ve identified one of my keystone habits.

What’s next for you? What small step can you take to move you towards your larger goal? What will motivate you to stay committed? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation.

Guess what’s next on my list for today?

Article originally appeared on The Other Side of Organized by Linda Samuels (
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