Dear Diary,

I recently reorganized my home office. It was a big project, and I was able to stay motivated and focused to the very end – with one exception.

Part of the process included flipping through my journals and deciding which to keep and which to let go. I was making good progress until I ran across a journal from 2018 that contained a list titled, “What I Want.” 


I was too curious to move on without knowing what I had written four years earlier, so I sat down and started reading. When I was done, my initial thoughts were: “Wow. Four years. Same dreams. Same goals. Very little progress.”

Additional negativity followed, with thoughts like:

  • “Why in the world would I make a list in a journal that detailed specifically what I wanted for my life only to close the book and stick it on a shelf?” 
  • “Why had I not been actively working to turn my wants into realities?”

My lack of progress since 2018 plus the negativity I added didn’t feel so great. Harsh judgment and self-criticism rarely do.


But then I realized that when I am quick to judge and criticize myself or others, it happens in an instant. It’s an automatic and involuntary response I have no control over. Reactions like these are almost always based on knowledge and experiences from the past that are stored away in the subconscious mind.

For example, we no longer need to consciously consider all the details associated with driving a car. Once we learn, the information is moved to the subconscious mind and used consciously when needed.

I wanted to change whatever was causing my unconscious rush to self-criticism. I started thinking about my past and looked for lessons I was taught growing up. I remembered being told “Clean your plate,” and “Put things back where you found them.” Then I remembered being told “Finish what you start.” 


In all three examples, I had added the words “Good people” to the statements in my mind, i.e., “Good people clean their plates,” “Good people put things back where they belong,” and “Good people finish what they start.” 

I was then able to see other times in my life when I was critical of myself and others for leaving work incomplete. I would think things like “Bad people don’t finish what they start,” and “Bad people deserve to be punished.”

Finding that “What I Want” list from four years ago with so many unfinished projects put me in the “bad person” category and meant I needed to be punished with criticism.


Because of this new information, I re-read the lists from 2018. I saw them from a fresh perspective and was able to acknowledge positive progress made. It’s true that I am still working to achieve some of what I wanted four years ago. It’s not true that everything we write on a list must be done immediately, and it’s certainly not true that we are bad people if they are not.

I ultimately abandoned some of those 2018 goals and did so intentionally. No knee-jerk criticism required.

The primary goal from that original list remains primary for me. I intend to live a healthy lifestyle and reach my ideal natural body weight. I continue to read about and study physiology, nutrition, aging, and psychology as a means of self-improvement and self-empowerment. Another primary goal that remains is to help other women over 60 reach their goals using the tools and information I have learned.


Speaking of progress . . . one big step that moved me closer to my primary goals was enrolling as a student at The Life Coach School. In December 2018, I was certified as a professional Life and Weight Coach. I have since opened my coaching practice dedicated to women over 60.

One big takeaway from the work I’ve done is to recognize the value that comes from creating “What I Want” lists with the steps needed to have each. We are the sole authors of those lists with full creative licenses to modify, delete, or add to them whenever moved to do so.

My strong recommendation is that all of us make lists like these on a regular basis to help uncover or reinforce our life’s purpose and guide our actions. Review them at least yearly and make decisions about what stays and what goes. Look for any lessons to be learned based on the year gone by and then get to it. 

I believe women over 60 have more to contribute to our world than any other demographic. Wake up those neurons and let’s go!


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Lisa Boyer