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There's Just No Substitute for ...

When was the last time you stopped and made a list of everything you need and value most? Your list can help you cut through mental clutter, count your blessings, and give you back a healthy sense of control. And it doesn't have to take hours. Technology makes compiling this list fast, easy, and free.

Here's how easy it is:

  1. Open your favorite "list" app. If you don't have one, check out Wunderlist. It's free and fun to use. Or just use a pen and pad of paper.
  2. Write at the top of your list, "There's just no substitute for ..."
  3. Brainstorm. Make your list as long as you would like. You can always trim later.

Examples: There's just no substitute for ...

  • Good coffee
  • Your dog (or the neighbor's dog)
  • Goals
  • Boundaries
  • Being heard
  • Sleeping in one day a week
  • Good old-fashioned mental-health day
  • An old friend
  • Good co-workers
  • Laughter
  • Confidence
  • Appreciation

Jot down all the big things and little things that make your life richer, fuller, easier, or simpler. Or just more fun. What's nice about using an app is you can speak your list. Sometimes that's faster and easier than writing one.

You'll probably find that a great many of your just-no-substitute items are free and within your control. Doesn't get much better than that—especially if you build your list into your schedule and decision-making.

Finally, when you're at a crossroads personally or professionally, having a clear sense of what you need and value most can help you discern big decisions.

Not long ago, I shared an exercise similar to this one with a group of counselors-in-training. Most of them had been so busy meeting others' needs that they had not taken time to ask about their own. Yikes. Now they have taken time—and I venture to say they're better for it, and so are their clients.

Could the same be true for you—that taking better care of yourself will benefit you and everyone around you? It starts by taking stock of what you need and value most.

Photo of Gina DeLapa

Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders® Coach, a sought-after speaker, and the proud creator of the Ultimate Reminders® book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Beware the organization whose response to a burning building is to form a committee") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. If you're not already getting her free Monday-Morning Pep Talk, be sure to sign up now at