I noted recently that I often encourage people to do what they love; but it then occurred to me that many people probably don’t even know what exactly it is that they love to do. I know just a few years back I would have been lost if someone had asked me – so what is it you like to do with your spare time?
Doing what you love helps us feel alive and raises our levels of personal well-being. Filling your life up with activities that fill-you-up seems so simple, yet it has a big impact on how happy you feel.
This post is for those of you have have no idea what you love. Perhaps you’ve never given it any thought? Or perhaps the idea of just stopping and rattling off a list of things you love to do leaves you feeling absolutely clueless.
I hear ya. Keep reading.
When you’re ready, grab a notebook and use these 4 question prompts to help you compile a list of things you love. It is this “Things I Love List” that forms the cornerstone of my self-care practice.
I’d encourage you to put your list somewhere accessible and to keep adding to it as you remember or discover new things you love. If you don’t have the time right now, but are committed to having more joy in your life, save this post somewhere safe and come back to when you can give it your full attention.
Here are 4 questions you can ask yourself to help tap into the things that bring you alive and make you feel warm in your heart:
- Brain Dump – List all the things that immediately come to your mind that you love.
Give yourself 5-10 minutes and scribble a messy list of all the things that come to mind when you ask: What do I love?
Too often, part of our problem is that we don’t give ourselves the time and space we need to really identify the things we enjoy. We never really reflect on what it is we need and what fills us up.
Some of the things I love: scented candles, hot showers, the beach, peppermint tea, beautiful flowers, the smell of lavender oil, reading self-help books, snuggling with my corgi, the smell of freshly cut grass, ice-cream, painting my nails, watching home remodeling shows…you get the gist!
The list doesn’t need to have any form or sense about it. As you can see, mine is a mix of all sorts of activities and experiences. It you want to organize it later however, you absolutely can. You may choose to organize it into “quick fixes”, “daily activities” and “big things” for example.
The main aim of this question is to give yourself the uninterrupted space to reflect and really think through what you enjoy.
- Think back to Your Childhood – What did you do in your spare time?
Think back to your childhood and teen years and ask yourself, what did I do for fun? What were the activities that you were interested in when there was no pressure from the outside world? What were the games that you most loved to play?
For me, I loved to write. As a teenager I wrote so many poems. I still have them in beautifully put together books. When I was younger than that, I can also remember loving music. I would play my Dirty Dancing soundtrack over and over and sing with reckless abandon (who doesn’t love Hungry Eyes!).
Perhaps you liked to color, or bake, or read books, or run around outside. There are no restrictions to what may come up for you. Don’t censor yourself … just write from your heart.
The main aim of this question is to help you remember the stuff that used to bring you joy, that perhaps you’ve forgotten to make space for in your life as you’ve grown.
- What are you Curious about? What are some of the things you’re interested in learning more about?
Grab your notepad and ask yourself – What am I curious about? What would I like to know more about, or perhaps try doing?
In Western culture, we don’t put enough value on the things that simply just interest us a little bit. Instead, we have come to overvalue things that are “productive” or move us towards a specific goal. We don’t allow ourselves the time or space to explore that which we might find interesting.
But just like children, adults need to “play”. To feel truly happy in our hearts, from time-to-time we need to do things just because we want to – not because we have anything to gain from it. Brene Brown and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (two famous people-researchers) both talk about this deep need within us.
A list might include: tramping and bush walking, the history of Asia, cooking or cooking classes, competitive card games, yoga, international travel.
The main aim of this question is to help you tap into the things that you might not yet know you love. If you follow your inbuilt sense of curiosity you may just find a whole new bunch of things that are worth trying that you may truly love.
- What would your Dream Day look like?
Ask yourself: If I was away from all of the pressures of real world stuff, and money and time were no object, what would my dream day look like?
You can go into as much detail as you like, but I’d encourage you to really immerse yourself in what this could look like for you.
Mine would include a few things that I’ve already mentioned above. Specifically, I would love to be on the beach under a giant umbrella in a warm climate reading an excellent self-help book. I’d also want to eat at an amazing restaurant and take a nap. There would be a lot more detail in my dream day, but those would be some of the specifics. To summarize some of those points into things I love: self-help books, travelling to warm climates, the beach, dinning in beautiful restaurants, and napping.
The main aim of this question is to help you picture doing the things you love, rather than being forced just to list them. It is a more practical way to envision it that may work better for some people, or help you identify some more things that haven’t yet come up in your lists.
Once you’ve asked yourself these 4 questions, and given each of them the time and thought they deserve, I would encourage you to come back and reflect on your list.
Do your best to look for opportunities to include these things in your life, because you will be happier for it. To read more about how to do just that, you can read another post of mine: How to Find the Time to Take Care of Yourself.
We all deserve to have a life thoroughly sprinkled with things we really deep down enjoy. These are the types of things that revive and restore us, and give us the energy to keep going and giving our best to the world.
Not yet in the Free 21 Day Self-Care Challenge launching June 5th? Click Here to Sign Up.
Hi. I’m Kate Snowise. I’m a Life & Executive Coach who helps people who want the good stuff out of life, get it. I believe life is about more than surviving and it being good enough. Each of us truly has the ability to thrive and live a beautiful, aligned life where we remember and connect with our authentic power. I have an MSc in Psychology (the positive kind that concentrates on what is right with you). I teach people how to reconnect with themselves and their spirits through my signature coaching program The Thriving Life Project. To read more about it click here.