who doesn’t love a list?

“Failing to plan is planning to fail”
– Unknown

There is something about lists that make me intrinsically happy. I actually enjoy writing down what I hope to accomplish over a specific period of time, be it that day or 5 years from now.

These lists allow me to plan and to dump all the thoughts bouncing around in my mind and free up space. But what I enjoy doing even more than writing out a list is crossing things off. Yep, I actually get a small rush of happiness each time I take my pen and make a horizontal line through the achievement written on my index card, which is now my preferred way to write out my lists (using both sides, of course). Sure, I could create a list on my phone but then that would deprive me of drawing a line, and that is more than half the fun of creating a list in the first place.

What does creating list have to do with finances? Quite a lot, actually.  In order to reach our goals, we need to have a plan.  You can try to walk around all day with all of your goals rattling around in your head, or you can write them down.  Just the act of writing down your goals makes them more real.  According to a 2016 study by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at the Dominican University in California, you are 42% more likely to reach your goals and dreams if you write them down on a regular basis.

Should you be a slave to your lists? Absolutely not, but they give us the framework of what we find important, our priorities for the day.  And it is in our daily activities and consistent behaviors they allow us to win with our money.

I have found the following lists helpful while digging out of debt:

  • grocery lists – stay focused in the store so we purchase only what is needed
  • book lists – keeps me focused on what I want and need to read instead of getting off track with something with a catchy title
  • daily lists – what i would like to accomplish that day in order to keep moving toward my goals
  • financial lists – lists of goals for 1, 5 and 10 years; without these goals you have no idea what you are trying to accomplish with your finances
  • personal lists – areas that I would like to enhance in my life, such as learning new skills
  • spiritual goals – it is my firm belief that we are all spiritual beings and our highest calling is to help others in their life’s journey
  • house list – similar to a grocery list, but helps Mr. Frugal Source stay focused when surrounded by all the tools he didn’t know he needed at the local big box store

Lists make the world, at least my small world, a much better place as they free my mind to think about the most important things in life.

As always, we want to hear from you. We’d love it if you’d take a moment to comment about what you do to keep yourself focused and stay on track to your goals.

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