List of Three: A Quick Journal Practice

 In Remember Gratitude, Wander Inside, Weekly Wonder For You

This week, I heard of a quick and easy way to journal that probably takes less than 5 minutes. It’s called the List of Three.

Kay Adams, founder of The Center for Journal Therapy, introduced me to this journaling prompt in her quick video. She talks about how simply making a list about three things can offer great insight.

This week has been a bit chaotic for me, so it was a good week to give Kay’s List of Three a go. And it didn’t disappoint. Despite broken down appliances, errands, work projects, and teaching classes, I’ve discovered I can make a list of three. And list-making counts as journaling! Win!

Here are just a few of the many possible topics for your own list of three:

  • Three things you want off your plate.
  • Three gratitudes from your day.
  • Three decisions you need to make before (fill in the blank).
  • Three highlights from your day (Many Thanks to Jeffrey Davis at Tracking Wonder for this gem.)
  • Three stories you need to tell.
  • Three things you love about (fill in the blank with a thing or a person)
  • Three things you’re afraid to do.
  • Three personal strengths.
  • Three memories from today.
  • Three reasons why “I want or don’t want to (fill in the blank).”
  • Three reasons why you’re awesome. (This last one came from a young boy with autism who introduces himself by giving his full name and declaring he’s awesome at skateboarding, a story I just his honesty that speaks so much about this child’s self-assured-ness in the world!)
  • Three outcomes of a meeting/program/presentation/appointment you’d like to see.
  • Three things you learned today.

But there are creative and mental health bonuses to writing a List of Three because:

1.     You get something off your mind and into a container that is meant to hold such things. Once there, you are free to stop wasting glucose on remembering it.

2.     You might discover your next writing prompt. Choose one of the stories, highlights, or memories from the list, and then write about just that one, keeping the others for later.

3.     You might turn one of your “what I love about this person” lists into a little note to tuck in a birthday card or a “thinking of you” note.

4.     You might also discover that after writing three things you don’t want to do, you discover a new way to actual clean that bathroom, or make that difficult phone call. (For example, I hate cleaning, and so after making my list of three, I decided I would devote just 15 minutes to a task. When the timer went off, I was free to do something more enjoyable for 5 minutes.)

5.     Lastly, you can pat yourself on the back and say, why yes, I did journal today. This bit of self-praise can be just the boost you need on a weary day.

There is power in writing out your three wishes, your three fears, your three tasks, your three whatever’s.

By simply scratching them onto a piece of paper or your journal, you’re sending a message to the Universe that you are serious about the things you want to release, to love, to embrace, to forget, to remember, to desire.

Personally, I believe the Universe loves when we do this, and generally responds in a kind, compassionate, and often unexpected way. Give it a try. Let me know what other List of Three topics you come up with. I’ll add them to this list crediting you.

From my writing heart to yours,









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Showing 2 comments
  • Nancy

    I love this idea and just made a list of 3 things that show I’m coping well! Thanks, Ginny!

    • Ginny

      What a great list of three, Nancy! Thank you for sharing. Xx Ginny

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