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It’s vital to know what brings you delight.

Now doesn’t that sound obvious? But when you’re busy, recalling what delights you or making time to experience those things is generally not at the top of your list.

I used to really enjoy the exercise in my Organizing for the Spirit workshop, when I told the group that we were going to make a list of 100 Things That Make You Smile. I was usually met with a roomful of deer-in-the-headlight looks as people responded with, “I don’t know if I can come up with 10 things, much less 100!”

I asked them, “When was the last time you tried to answer the question of what makes you smile?”

“Never?” was the general answer. And yet, if you had been asked when you were eight years old, you could have listed 100 with no problem.

Allowing yourself 20 minutes now to make this simple list is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Sit down with a pen and piece of paper and number 1 – 100. Then start writing. List ANYTHING that makes you smile, from watching your children sleep at night to Damn You Auto-Correct; ocean sunsets to sex; playing cards to playing tennis. Drawing, reading, cooking, time with friends. Wine. Puppies.

Keep writing until you can’t think of anything else to write. Then just repeat the last thing you wrote until something else occurs to you. Keep writing. When you’re stuck, repeat. Somewhere, at some number, you’ll have a breakthrough and remember things you used to love, that you still love, but that you’d forgotten about. Maybe they’re activities that you haven’t made the time to do anymore.

When you’re up to one hundred, stop. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of repeats.

A little later, go through your list and estimate how long it takes to “do” each item. Some will take only a minute or so, like rubbing your pet’s belly, and others, like a trip around the world, will take longer. Put the estimated time next to the item and open your planner book or program.

Then, put a few of the things that make you smile into your schedule. Mark them with a highlighter, and then see how long it takes for you to scratch them out because of someone else’s priority. 😉

This is probably what will happen until you realize that creating/scheduling time for what brings you pleasure is ESSENTIAL to your well-being. You don’t always get to have a balance between what you need to do and want to do, but you’ve got to give yourself a fighting chance!

Start small, if necessary, but make it a habit. Learn what makes you smile today, and act as if you’re as much a priority as anyone else on your To Do list. Your spirit will thank you!

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