This is a great time of year to reflect on what’s important to you and what you’d like to accomplish in the New Year and beyond. I recently learned about Ted Leonis and his 101 List, a list of the 101 things he’d like to accomplish in his life.

The impetus for him to create this list was a close brush with death. He uses his list to focus his energy on what really matters to him and advises friends to “always live their lives on the offense”.1

I decided to create my own Life List and share it with my husband. It is a great exercise for individuals and couples to determine where to focus their limited resources and live their lives to the fullest. It’s a great way to ensure you and your partner are aligned in the direction you are charting in life. It’s not dissimilar from the Discovery process I guide clients through in my financial planning practice to help them dream big about the future and then prioritize their goals to maximize use of their limited resources.

Ted’s list has the following categories on it:

  • Family Matters
  • Financial Matters
  • Possessions
  • Charities
  • Sports
  • Travel
  • Stuff

Perusing his list made me realize how different people are in resources and goals, but how some things transcend wealth. Whereas his list includes things like “net worth of a hundred million dollars”, “own a jet” and “go into outer space”, mine is much more modest. Several of his items are similar to items on my list, such as “have a healthy son” and “have grandchildren”. I enjoyed seeing that I have already accomplished a few of the items that he has yet to accomplish, such as “go on safari” and “live overseas for one year”.

The categories aren’t meant to be set in stone. I added several categories to my own list, including:

  • Spiritual
  • Home
  • Community
  • Career
  • Personal

The list is not meant to be rigid in composition either. My list currently has 69 items on it, but I plan to regularly update it, by adding things as I think of them and removing, or better yet, checking items off as I complete them. In order to facilitate this process I have saved the list to my desktop on my laptop so it is always accessible.

The point of this process is to live life to the fullest by taking stock of what is important to you in life and what you hope to accomplish. The goal is to arrive at the end of your life having completed many, if not most, of the items on the list and feel that yours was a life well-lived. I think it is a particularly useful tool for couples to use together to better align their lives and talk about what is important to them.