Most people make a list of things to do.

This includes me.

I’ve been making lists of things To Do for decades.

I’ve even made lists of Things I’m NOT Going to Do.

Such lists help set priorities.

 Otherwise you’d be lost, chasing distractions. Or worse, you’d be driven by other people’s agendas.

One day, I realized that there were 3 essential things that belonged at the top of my list of Things To Do.

They are:

Item #1: Be Happy

Sometimes we have to work at being happy.


Your inner self and your outer self are connected. So a smile outside brings a smile inside.

In addition, a smile makes you more attractive and more approachable, which helps you achieve more.


Pause for a moment to take a deep breath that goes all the way to the bottom of your lungs. Then let it out slowly.

While doing this, focus on your breath going in and going out.

Let Go

Let go of impossible problems that are beyond your control.

Imagine that you’re putting them all in a bag. Then tie the bag to a large balloon and let it go.

Smile and wave goodbye while you watch the bag float away into the clouds.

Albuquerque Balloon Festival, Oct. 2016,

Tie Your Worries to a Balloon and Let Them Go

Item #2: Be Loving

Loving kindness always helps you feel better.

Offer Praise

Find and acknowledge good things that others are doing.

So, I try to find praise for everyone I meet. I even tell my cat that she’s a “good cat” dozens of times each day.

 And I tell birds, “Good bird.”

I do this because I hear what I’m saying. So I’m actually praising myself when I praise others.

After all, I’m a good cat, too.

Share Hope

Focus on what can be done. And then talk about that.

Imagine what is possible. And talk about that.

Find solutions. And talk about them.

Always find positive possibilities. And then share them with others.

Perform Favors

Do small things that help others.

Open doors for people. Let someone go ahead of you. Drive respectfully.

Every favor that you perform is actually a gift of feeling useful that you give yourself.

Western Bluebird, Juvenile, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in "3 Things to Do Everyday - Ideas for Your To Do List "

Western Bluebird, Juvenile (Who Is a Good Bird)

Item #3: Be Grateful

Being grateful creates a sense of abundance.

Say Thank You

Begin by thanking people for anything and everything.

Thank people for helping you, for spending time with you, and for being who they are.

Find Gratitude

Take inventory of everything that pleases you.

Write out a list so that you can add to it and refer to it later. Or keep a gratitude journal where you list good things that happen each day.

If you need a start here’s an idea to put at the top of your list:

 I’m alive


Create Gratitude

Help others do good things so that you can thank them.

This by the way, is the key to extraordinary leadership. Great leaders help others exceed their expectations of what they thought was possible.

Canada Goose, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in "3 Things to Do Everyday - Ideas for Your To Do List "

Canada Goose, Landing – Always brings a feeling of gratitude

Find more ideas at:

5 Investments in Happiness

27 Ways to Show Kindness

3 Gifts Everyone Wants

Kindness for the Holidays