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30 Dec

Is List-Making The Secret To Happiness?

Posted by Bikini Owner


A photo posted by Morgan Painter (@painter_morgan)on


Is one of your resolutions for the new year to be more focused? Or maybe you're aiming to find some more quiet space to pursue your creative dreams, take on a big project, or simply stop and smell the roses a bit more. Year after year, making claims to aspirations of greatness can cause us to aim high but miss the mark, especially when our busy lives hit full tilt. When Moorea Seal realized that her zeal for list-making could become a cathartic creative endeavor, she started a blog in 2013 called 52 Lists — making a list a week for the entire year, the project included prompts and reflections on the seasons and holidays, encouraging list-making to help harness happiness, positivity and gratitude.

From listing words that touch your soul to cataloging your favorite songs, Seal's guided lists help you remember yourself, tune in, and illuminate the points of brightness in your life. Turning her personal project into a printed journal for all to enjoy was a suprising entreprenurial endeavor, one that has become a full-blown phenomenon (the likes of Oprah have recognized Seal's books — which is major!). The start of a new year is the perfect time to jump in and start listing, which is why we decided a chat with Seal was a great way to kick off 2017. 

BIKINI:  52 Lists seems to aim at organizing and funneling inspiration—was it born from a personal need?

MOOREA SEAL: Absolutely. I have depression, anxiety, and ADD, and I have always been an avid list maker — not only in organizing to-do lists but in using lists as a meditative practice to center myself. My goal with the 52 Lists series is to help anyone and everyone who battles with their own personal struggles — be it self criticism, negativity, anxiety, whatever it is — channeling each person’s inner wisdom and joy through list making to better handle their stresses and live a more fulfilling life.


BIKINI:  Have you always been a list-maker?

MOOREA SEAL: Always and forever a list maker! One of my first blogs in college was called Miss Lists. On it, I documented as many lists as I could think of that helped me remember who I was inside, what mattered to me, what inspired me, and so on ... things like “movies I love, museums that inspire me, radio shows, favorite books, people I admire, etc." As a tactile and visual learner, it helps me a lot to see visual evidence of what matters most to me, which in turns helps me remain assured of myself and confident in who I am.



A photo posted by Moorea Seal (@mooreaseal)on


BIKINI:  How can putting pen to paper affect change in our daily lives?

MOOREA SEAL: Practice is what leads us to true achievement, true confidence, and true success. To me, the end outcome is never the goal or the major success. It’s the practice, the follow through of investing in yourself through list making, one week at a time, a few minutes each day, that truly shapes who you are creates positive change in your life. And that practice of putting pen to paper is what is sustaining your personal growth and expansion of purpose and joy.

BIKINI: It's easy to make lists and forget them. How do we make the leap from putting these thoughts, ideas, inspirations into action?

MOOREA SEAL: After each list in The 52 Lists Project and 52 Lists for Happiness, there is a call to action that helps you analyze your list to discover new insight into who you are, what drives you, what motivates you, what inspires you and brings you joy. Every call to action is a little something different that it asks you to do, from taking some time to have fun with friends, create a gratefulness jar to fill with with the things that you are most grateful for, or write yourself a letter five years into the future ... there are tons of new ways to transform your list into an action. Anyone can write a list, and that is what makes my books so approachable and useable for anyone of any age. It’s how you take time to really reflect on each list that helps you grow and become the greatest version of you.

BIKINI: Do you have any fun 52 List stories from people who have used the book?

MOOREA SEAL: I actually recently just met a woman who said she had just finished The 52 Lists Project all the way through and she was ready to start her next journey with 52 Lists for Happiness and was so excited. She had created a weekly routine of eating a treat and sipping a glass of wine on her closed porch every week while she wrote her lists and took time to reflect and take action. When anyone at any phase in life tells me that my book has helped them deeply find joy, confidence, and peace with who they are, as she has, I’m just so moved. I’ve had incredible things happen with the books being featured on and stocked in over 400 stores worldwide —The 52 Lists Project is being printed in six different languages already! (It only came out a little over a year ago). All of the press coverage has been mind-blowing, for sure. But it’s when I get to meet people of all ages, all genders, and all backgrounds, who say that these books have become incredible supports and resources of love for them, for that I am just beyond grateful. So many people tell me that they have started book clubs with their journals, taking time each week to meet with their best friends in person or via Skype to chat about their personal revelations and progress because of the 52 Lists series. It means so much to know that I’m doing something meaningful with books that truly show my heart.



A photo posted by Moorea Seal (@mooreaseal)on


BIKINI: Where do you look for inspiration — whose pins and Instas really excite you?

MOOREA SEAL: You know, there are so many incredible bloggers, pinners, and Instagrammers out there who create gorgeous content. But what inspires me in my work and in my personal life are my friends, my family, my therapist, and anyone I see across social media who is just being honest, authentic, and vulnerable about who they are, what they struggle with, and how they keep going and remain kind to themselves and others. My friends @BlackSpringsFolkArt inspire me massively for the craftsmanship of their incredible handmade products, for their hearts in how they care for animals, and how they are building an animal rescue @hopespringsanimalsanctuary. One of the friends I’ve known the longest through social media @LauraMazurek recently became a mother and her ability to balance thoughtful motherhood, being really open and loving on social media, with her incredible businesses is just amazing.  My friend Andrea from @thewinterphoenix is also a constant inspiration to me. She has now created a truly magical brand called The Winter Phoenix that is not only moving in its beauty but moving through the intention she puts into each of her pieces.

BIKINI: What are your resolutions and plans for 2017? 

This year, I just plan to learn how to say no more often. I am lucky in that I’ve gotten myself to a place over the last eight years in my work where I now have lots of incredible opportunities at my fingertips. But decisiveness, careful and thoughtful planning are more important to me right now than grabbing any opportunity that comes my way. I have a lot already planned for my own brand. I’m not only an author but I own an online retail site called where we curate over 160 handmade designers’ works from across the U.S., with thousands of beautiful products. We donate a percentage of each sale to non-profits as well. I also own a storefront here in Seattle — I’m pretty busy! So my goal is to simply slow down, be as calm and centered as possible, and really do what I do well so that I can thrive in my work and personal life. The 52 Lists series is a HUGE help for me in finding peace amidst my wild life!