My weight loss friendly to-do list for today:
- Bring dress to dry-cleaners: check.
- Finish work project: check.
- Go for a decent walk: check.
- Buy new baby gift for friend: check.
- Drop in food to mother: check.
- Prep healthy lunch for work tomorrow: check.
- Collect son from rugby practice: check.
These are all mundane, practical things that need to be accomplished in my day that I should somehow remember. But I’m not naturally organised, so writing them down just puts more shape and organisation on my day and helps me relax that all the important stuff gets done.
Some people can’t stand lists; they say they stifle creativity. But for me, I find making lists actually helps free my mind of the mundane to be more creative. A list also reflects back to me what I’m spending my time on, so it’s a great way of checking that I’m aligning my time with goals and priorities that are most important.
What are the Weight Loss Benefits?
Some psychologists say that lists, when done correctly, are not to be scoffed at. They can help us to become more productive with our time, and are particularly useful when it comes to changing habits and, indeed, achieving health goals, such as weight loss or fitting in more exercise.
Lists make you accountable and motivated, which is exactly what we need in order to follow through with our intentions and goals for the day. The very act of writing our intention down is powerful, creating both the impetus and the reminder to follow through with it. Once our ‘to-do’ items have been crossed of, we also have that satisfying feeling of having achieved something. This helps to lower low grade, generalised anxiety and makes many people generally feel more in control.
Keep it Simple
The key to making effective lists is to keep them simple and not to overload your day. Try to stick to a maximum of five a day, and always be specific. For instance, don’t write down ‘exercise today’. Instead, write down when and where; such as ’40 minute walk after dropping the kids to school’.
It may sound obvious but also make sure your ‘to-do’ items are realistic. Otherwise you will experience a sense of failure and this is something that can easily derail your weight loss efforts. We want you to congratulate yourself for good decisions rather than chastising yourself for messing up.
For instance, if you don’t have time to make a complicated recipe on one particular day, don’t be tempted to write it down on your list. Save it for another day and, instead, choose a quick yet healthy meal for today.
Pick one habit that you want to change and put it onto your daily list for now. For instance, it could be drinking two litres of water a day (get recipe ideas here) or cutting down on alcohol. Tick it off every day and notice how it soon becomes second-nature (this usually takes about three weeks). Then move onto the next habit – take one or two at a time.
More Advice for a Weight Loss Friendly To-do List?
Another useful tip is to keep your work and personal lists separate. Or, instead, separate lists according to the two segments of your day; the work phase of your day, and then home time. Decide where exercise will fit in and write it down. For some, that is incorporated into their commute to work or into their lunch break, but for others it fits better at the end of the day, where they might join an evening exercise class or do a hill walk.
Break your big ‘to-dos’ into small, actionable tasks. For instance, your goal might be to start prepping food in advance and batch cooking. But, instead of writing ‘prep food’, write down a list of the food you need and write down what time of the day and week that you’ll batch cook/prep (such as every Sunday morning).
And be mindful of the trap that some people fall into which is writing lists as a replacement activity for actually doing the thing on the list. It’s an artful form of procrastination that we can all fall into. So keep your list-writing time limited (most lists can be written in under five minutes) and get doing as soon as you can.
Something to put on your list today: a fridge/pantry makeover to make sure you have all the healthy foods you need to hand in order to stick to your Motivation Weight Loss Plan.