What is a Stop Doing List?
It’s that time of year again, when everyone is making New Year’s resolutions. But as I think of the goals I’d like to accomplish in the coming year, I have to wonder where I’m going to fit all of it. It turns out my schedule is already jam-packed with a bunch of things that suck up time and energy without actually benefiting me. That’s why this year, I’m committing to a stop doing list.
What’s a stop doing list? Just what it sounds like! It’s a list of things I’m committing to stop doing, in order to create more time and energy for the things that matter more to me, like family, faith, and all of those goals I’d like to reach.
So, without further ado, here are the things I’ve recognized in my own life that need to go to make room for the things that matter. Ladies and gentlemen…my stop doing list.
My Stop Doing List
This year I will stop…
- Sacrificing my mental health to social media. Scrolling my Facebook feed can sometimes lift my spirits, like when I catch a glimpse of smiling family photos, funny memes, or goats jumping off of other goats. (If you can resist baby goat videos, you need to check your heart. Just kidding…but seriously.) But that’s not the majority of our experience on social media, is it? Studies are finding that social media actually causes depression, anxiety, lower self-esteem, dissatisfaction with our own lives, fewer real-life human connections, and more. This year, I’m dedicating more time to the activities that lift my spirits, and less to those that tear them down.
- Spending excessive time on Netflix. The average person watches more than 34 hours of television every week. That kind of commitment would get you full-time benefits at most jobs. Yikes. Now it’s not that all watching is mindless. I enjoy following a dramatic series just as much as the next girl. And a fantastic movie can bring the whole family together! But…95% of my time spent in front of the tv is mindless. I’m half-heartedly watching a movie I’ve seen 107 times, and settling for a show I’m not even that interested in, because it’s the best thing on at the moment. This year, I’m dedicating a good chunk of those 34 hours to something that will benefit me more, like visiting with friends, reading a book, or getting outside to breathe some fresh air.
- Saying no to plans with friends. I’m tired, I’m short on time, and I’m an introvert. I don’t need much of a reason to cancel plans and stay home whenever possible. But friendships (and relationships in general) are so important to our health! That’s not to say I’ll be stressing myself out by jam-packing my schedule with dinners and playdates. But this year, I’m dedicated to catching up with a friend in person at least twice a month. That could mean having them over for dinner or a game night, or just drinking coffee together while our kids terrorize the Chick-Fil-A playscape.
- Comparing myself to others. Whether we’re comparing families, careers, appearances, or finances, comparing ourselves to others never works out for us. We don’t know the other person’s actual and entire situation, and we’re all at different points in our journey, making comparison irrelevant…which makes it a complete waste of time. And most important of all? Comparison steals our joy. So this year, I’m done comparing myself to anyone, in any area of my life.
- Believing “I’ll be happy when…”. The truth is that as soon as we land that job, get married, have a kid, or reach that goal weight, the high is short-lived and the line quickly moves. Instead of waiting to be happy until I reach my goals, I vow to find reasons to be happy and find contentment today, right where I am.
- Worrying about things outside of my control. I can’t control everything and everyone. And worrying about the future, unless I’m acting on it, makes absolutely zero difference on the outcome. This year, I’m determined to consciously turn off my worry the second I recognize it popping up. (Be sure to download our free guide to create a plan to curb your worrying this year!)
- Blaming adversities instead of focusing on what’s within my control. We too often excuse our own behavior or circumstances rather than facing them head-on. “I can’t gain control of my weight because my family doesn’t eat healthy.” “I’m miserable every day because I have a terrible job.” I know how difficult our circumstances can make reaching our goals, or even surviving our day-to-day. But author Dieter F. Uchtdorf asserts, “It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself that determines how your life’s story will develop.” Jim Carrey had to drop out of high school to support his family. Oprah grew up in an abusive household. Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a shark at just 13 years old. Even if we can’t change our circumstances, we have the power to choose how we allow them to affect us, either positively or negatively. This year, I’m not allowing negative circumstances to determine my destiny.
- Allowing the words and actions of other people to dictate my happiness. Along the same lines, I will not place the keys to my happiness in the hands of others. That means that the approval or disapproval, words or silence, or actions or inactions of others, will not hold the power to ruin my day or my year. Instead I’ll set healthy boundaries, and remember that neither family nor friends were intended to fulfill or complete me in the first place.
- Striving for perfection. With so many different goals and activities and people vying for our attention, some things just aren’t worth the time and effort. My house will not always be spotless, I won’t always look like I’ve walked off the runway, and sometimes I’ll set goals that I’ll fail miserably. And that’s totally okay. This year, I’m assessing what’s most important to me and my family, focusing my efforts in those places, and letting unimportant things fall to the wayside. And I’m not feeling one ounce of guilt about it. (Be sure to download our free goal setting workbook for help assessing your own priorities!)
- Talking about other people. The fact is that other people are outside of my control. And if we’re being honest, what other people say or do is none of my business anyway. There’s a saying (possibly by Eleanor Roosevelt), “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” This year, I’m vowing to waste less time talking and worrying about what other people do.
Wrap It Up
The things we spend our time doing, keep us from doing…well…other things. So before you set any resolutions, take a minute to assess what already takes up your time, and doesn’t need to. You can even download this free goal setting workbook to help you determine your priorities and cut out the rest.
What’s on your stop doing list? Be sure to share in the comments!
P.S. Ready to establish your own priorities, so you know what to add to your stop doing list? Then be sure to download your free goal setting workbook here!
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