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List Making - Journaling Tool

We tend to think we have limited choices in life. In reality, our choices are infinite. Many ideas and options lie within us. We need only draw them out.

"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas." - Linus Pauling

creative journaling

Do you enjoy making lists? If so, here are some guidelines for bringing more creativity to your list making. This process also helps you become aware of how ideas come to you.

Here's how the process works:

  • Relax and pose your intention or question.
  • Set a target of a minimum of 25, 50 or 100 responses.
  • Write as quickly as you can. Keep responses short.
  • Keep your list on one page.
  • Duplications and meaningless responses are okay.
  • When your list is complete, read it over and group items by common themes.
  • Write a short summary on your insights.

As you write your lists, you may notice that answers come in waves. Ask the watcher in you to notice deep inside how new ideas are triggered. Don't try too hard; simply allow them to come. The more relaxed we are, the more easily ideas flow. If 25 came easily, set a goal to write 50 or 100 and do not stop till you have that many on your list. Remember that duplicates are okay. Consistently asking for answers keeps the tension on our subconscious, prompting it to respond.

Review your list and get another level of insight as you group the items. Make up your own legend and intuitively start grouping. For example, a list of how to have fun might include activities that could be grouped by indoor or outdoor, winter or summer, alone or with others. Grouping your entries will help you see your list from new perspectives. When you have completed your groupings, write any insights that have surfaced.


As a minimum, do a list of 25 items on at least one of the following topics:

Getting started:

  • Ways you can have more fun in your life
  • Things you like about yourself
  • Choices you will have to make over the next month

Go deeper:

  • What irritates you
  • Things you dislike about yourself
  • Your personal fears

Reach higher:

  • Values you stand for or aspire to live
  • Things you love to do
  • What gives you meaning

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Check out over 50 other Journal Writing Prompts, Topics, Exercises and Resources.