my 2015 stop-doing list

It’s been over five years since I published this post about setting priorites and writing a stop-doing list for the lululemon blog. The reflection was inspired by the book Good To Great, a fantastic read by Jim Collins.

Sleep. Read. Sweat. Shower. Work. Meet. Write. Shop. Clean. Fix. Organize. Here. There. Everywhere.

I am a recovering list-a-holic. Seriously, if I could itemize the minute details of my life purely for the satisfaction of crossing tasks off my list, I would. I do.

The to-do list is hardly fresh. Children return to school and receive agendas on their first day at class. As for me, I have been sharpening my planning skills as if training for the Organizational Olympics since the ripe age of seven, and I am as detail-oriented as they come. Come to my apartment, and witness the to-do list that is permanently fixed to my front door. (Neurotic? Guilty.) Recently my paradigms of list-making were shaken up a bit – enter the “stop doing” list.

I just finished working my way through Jim Collin’s book Good to Great, a must-read in my opinion. His research resonated with me – my eager eyes feasted on all the pretty little lists, brimming with empirical data, waiting neatly for me to absorb, page after page. I learned that “good-to-great leaders distinguish themselves by their unyielding discipline to stop doing anything and everything that doesn’t fit tightly within their Hedgehog Concept. “ (Hedgehog concept? It has nothing to do with chocolates. You need to read this book and learn more.) The more I chew on this idea, the more I like it – and guess what? Out comes my red journal and POP! a new list descends the page.

1. I stop chatting online; instead I welcome friends into my home for real quality time.
2. I stop doing busy things that thwart my creativity.
3. I stop wasting time lamenting the things I do not have and think I need. I am grateful. Period.
4. I stop making the computer screen the first and last thing I see in a day.
5. I stop criticizing myself & the people in my world. I replace criticism with encouragement and praise or nothing at all.
6. I stop spending time worrying about the future. Every day has enough troubles of its own.

Streamline your life. Take inventory of all the “DO’s” in your life and see if they align with who you are and where you want to go. Make a list of “DON’Ts” and bathe in the clarity that follows. Repeat as necessary.

What’s on your list today?

After revisiting my old post, I was quite taken with how little my priorities have changed. The thing that has significantly changed, however, is my ability to actually stop doing the things that get in the way of my big picture. Call it motherhood. Call it coping from an international move. Call it the cross a Yes Person has to bear. These are all excuses, of course. At the end of the day I’m the one responsible for sabotaging my ability to live in alignment with my values.

In the spirit of stopping, I’ve decided to start seven straight days of journalling for you, our friends and family. What’s motivated this sleep-deprived mother to step up and write more? Big personal goals, accountability, and the Your Turn Challenge, courtesy of Seth Godin and his team.

Special thanks to Winnie for admiting her failure, taking responsibility for her excuses and swiftly stepping out to initiate a movement of mutual support and accountability. I’m hoping the momentum from this commitment will spill over into other areas of my world, namely my creative project that has been hibernating for too long. No promises for seven lengthy posts of great depth and meaning, though I have been drafting some pieces of that nature. You’ll just have to check in and see what’s cooking each day.

I’ve added one new item to my stop-doing list: stop staying up past my self-imposed curfew. I made a resolution to say no to late-night blogging so I could say yes to reading in bed with my hot water bottle and my husband by 10:30pm. So far, so good.

January, you are stirring the pot already and I’m loving 2015. Bring it on.

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