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Do You Have “Enjoy Life” on Your Checklist?

By Marie Burns February 08, 2021 Managing Money

Checklists are more powerful than you might think. Research is definitely convincing on the merits of using checklists. They help you focus and accomplish goals, one small task at a time.

They train your brain to be more productive which also gives you more time in your day. And they assure fewer “fire drills” in your life. Count me in!

This Is Not a Drill!

Yet, as with many things in life, there can be a fine line between using and over-using checklists. A friend of mine from church is a lot like me and uses checklists for work, personal appointments, and her volunteer assignments.

Her husband must’ve thought she was being a bit excessive when one day he leaned over her shoulder to look at one of her checklists and ask, “Do you have ENJOY LIFE on your checklist?”

When she told me that, we both laughed, but then I haven’t forgotten that story either. My husband too can be the one who brings me back to earth with a reminder (not always a gentle reminder) to stop and smell the roses. They say opposites attract, and I find us healthier together because of it.

Me, Myself, and I

But what about when you don’t have that significant other anymore? That someone who can help you remember to be balanced in your life? Or who can make you laugh when you are taking life too seriously?

Many women have found themselves suddenly single (or perhaps by choice) and that can mean everything is now up to me, myself, and I. Then what?

The Power of Friendship

February, often known as the month of love, can be an especially painful reminder if you are now single. I like the concept of Galentine’s Day (grab your gal friends and do something fun together) as a way to put a positive spin for singles on the traditional Valentine’s Day.

Holidays, anniversaries, and birthdays can all be hard times, especially the first few years after a loss. Plus, having some girlfriends around can definitely help you enjoy life more during these times.

“Whether You Think You Can, or You Think You Can’t…”

A key factor for enjoying life is to remember, we are our thoughts. I’m taking a Positive Intelligence course right now and finding it fascinating.

I want to find ways to help women turn what feels like bad situations, like becoming suddenly single, into a focus on looking forward in search of gifts and opportunities instead. It’s important to me that I help people move the whole money conversation from the “taboo list” to the “money is just another tool in my toolbox” list.

Throughout the course, I am constantly reminded that whatever you think your life is, it is. Whether you believe there will be a positive outcome or a negative outcome, you are right. It sounds so easy yet is so hard, but it is all about what we choose to think.

Check(list) It Out!

So, from my Positive Intelligence learnings, I have identified a very short checklist for you to consider trying in order to experience financial peace.

#1 Visualize regularly how you want to feel mentally and physically. See yourself smiling and enjoying less financial stress.

#2 Create an inventory of the tools in your toolbox; a financial inventory.

#3 Connect with other women on the same journey.

In Plain Sight

First, visualizing can have amazing power. A famous experiment compared boys who wanted to improve their free throw percentage for basketball. One group did nothing extra, one group spent extra time practicing free throws, and one group just visualized themselves with improved free throw percentages with no extra practice time.

There was no change in results for the nothing extra group – compared to a 23% increase in free throw percentages for both the extra practice group and the visualization only group!

Creating a Financial Checklist

Second, creating a financial inventory is where the power of a checklist can be helpful. You can find several net worth or personal financial statement samples to use online or consider using My Financial Blueprint to create a list of assets that also doubles as your estate planning checklist.

Being able to see all of your money tools in one place is the best foundation for making wise financial decisions going forward.

Girl Power!

Finally, connecting with other women is part of the accountability aspect of my three-step checklist challenge for you. I offer monthly virtual workshops, for example.

Or checkout a Facebook (Modern Widows Club) group, a local MeetUp group, or various church groups offered across the United States like DivorceCare or GriefShare for in-person connections. Having an external, supportive accountability group can improve your goal attainment by 500%!

Enjoy the Process

By using this checklist format, you can break things down to more doable chunks, create healthier habits, and make it easier to take the emotion out of it.

Money decisions are often an emotional trigger, usually due to childhood and past relationships. So, to help reduce the “fire drills” in your life, try to enjoy the process by creating your own checklist. You’ll be well on your way to enjoying less worry and more life!

How do you use checklists? Do you try to include “enjoy life” entries in your checklists? Can you share any tips for other women to enjoy financial peace? Please join in the discussion!

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The Author

Marie Burns, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), advocates for women’s financial health. She is an author of a financial checklist book series, speaker, podcast host and partners with clients to offer friendly financial advice in her independent practice Visit her at or

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