September 23, 2018

Writing a Ta-Da List

Be proud of every step you take.

During a recent session with my writing group, our leader extraordinaire, Kathleen Hamilton, said it was time to do a group exercise. We were going to write a ta-da list. “We all have a to-do list,” she explained, “but a ta-da list is even more important.” Immediately, I sat up and took notice.

So often we fixate on the things we have to do or haven’t done. We’re our own worst critics, berating ourselves for not being perfect, not reaching our goals or not measuring up to expectations. In doing so, we forget all the things we HAVE accomplished and how great we really are.

Ta-da list to the rescue. A ta-da list is a list – or better yet, a celebration – of accomplishments, big or small. By participating in Kathleen’s exercise, I realized that writing one helps to shift your focus and perspective in a more positive direction.

For the writers group exercise, we focused on ta-da moments in the context of our writing. While it’s great to choose one topic like that and write down all your related ta-das, you don’t have to restrict yourself to one thing.

For example, here’s a ta-da list that I wrote a few days ago.

1. Improved my mental health through self-care, medication and counselling.
2. Established a career even though at one point in my life, I thought I’d never work again.
3. Raised an incredible son and daughter.
4. Created a blog which I post on every week.
5. Contributed three stories to an anthology that will be published later this year.
6. Published several articles in Canadian Gardening magazine.
7. Ran a half-marathon.
8. Comforted people in their dying moments.
9. Earned two university degrees.
10. Shared my time and money with worthy causes.

Like a lot of people, I’m my own worst critic. Writing a ta-da list helped me take my mind off all the things on my to-do list and and congratulate myself for the things I’ve accomplished. That’s a boost to the self-esteem!

It’s important to celebrate your accomplishments, even the small ones. It’s encouraging to see your progress. While to-do lists can be depressing, especially when you haven’t started on them, ta-da lists are uplifting and motivating.

Start working on your ta-da list today. And remember, the accomplishments don’t have to be “significant.” Even if all you managed to do was pull yourself out of bed and show up at work on a bad day, that’s an accomplishment worth noting.

Write it, read it, reflect on it, and then give yourself a pat on the back.