celebrate your awesome qualities

written by alison

I promise that I’ll stop writing about my birthday soon. However, today is my actual birthday – so I get to bring it up.

Just a couple years ago I was looking for a way to focus my energy on the things that I liked, instead of the things I’d change about myself and my life. I’m pretty sure the idea stemmed from trying to keep a gratitude journal and quickly evolved into my current list of “things I like about myself.”

When I came up with the idea, I knew I wanted a list that would be always growing and evolving. While listing only one additional thing per year might seem small, I recognize the fact that it isn’t the only thing that I like, doesn’t define the previous year and only forces me to get better at being decisive. It’s not a memoir, just a list.

This morning, I woke up and opened my list to add number 27 –

  1. My ability to create completely organized calendars.
  2. The raspberry patch on the bottom of my foot.
  3. My French accent after I’ve been in France for a couple days.
  4. My half sleeve tattoo of Moris and Ruth.
  5. My love of animals of all kinds.
  6. The fact that I can look good with short, long or medium length hair.
  7. My “magnetic” personality and the fact that it has been described as such.
  8. How passionate I am about what I am doing/working on.
  9. I’m an athlete.
  10. My handwriting, the lovely mix of cursive and sans serif.
  11. The fact that bowling a strike is certainly not rare for me.
  12. I am someone my older sister looks up to.
  13. My ability, and desire, to set goals and break them.
  14. The fact that I try and dissect and understand my process and how it can be improved.
  15. The talents I have for cooking and making delicious food for others.
  16. How strong I am when I lift weights.
  17. The fact that I have not forgotten how special my granny is, years after she passed away.
  18. My ability to arrange type in an interesting and fun way.
  19. The conversations I have with myself while running over 10 miles.
  20. How I can take song lyrics and apply them to some part or situation in my life.
  21. The perspective I have being both a photographer and designer when taking pictures.
  22. My collarbone.
  23. The fact that I can write so openly, and humorously.
  24. My ability to be fully functional and ready for the day with 7 hours of sleep.
  25. That when things need to get done, I can find the focus to get them done.
  26. I am a triathlete.
  27. My bravery to start + grow a business as a full-time entrepreneur at the age of 26.

There are some common themes and threads, which most likely stems from the fact that I compiled the list in a span of a couple years, instead of 27. The other thing is that my list usually focuses on what is most important to me.

So how do you go about writing your own?

First, define your list. Are you going to write about things you like about yourself, things you are grateful for, happiest memories from the year, tastiest meal you had, or something completely different?

After you define it, you should probably plan how you are going to keep your list. As a big nerd, it was a no brainer for me to keep a digital list, instead of a paper copy. Right now I have mine in Evernote, but could see utilizing Google Docs, a Word or Pages file on your computer, or something similar. You might want to go all out and create a scrapbook of sorts for a hard copy of your list. All that matters is that it is something you can easily add to, and will want to add to.

The next step is to build that list up. When I started mine, I had 24 items to list and was 6 months away from my next birthday. What made the most sense to me was breaking it up into chunks – 4 items each month. It was much easier for me to think of 4 things instead of sitting down to write out 24 and allowed me to have additional experiences throughout the year that might change what I was focused on.

The last step is to keep the tradition going. I have an annual event on my calendar that alerts me each June 10th to add one more item of things that I like. But to be honest, I remember it before the alert goes off, because it’s something I look forward to.

So what do you say? Ready to start a list of things that matter to you? I hope so, because we should all celebrate the awesome things in life. They don’t get enough time in the spotlight.

PS – 816 words. This one was easy to reach my goal on – I’m passionate about it.