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  • Writer's pictureBetsy Kent


The first thing we do after setting a goal is to make a to-do list of all the things we have to get done so that we can reach the goal.

The second thing we usually do is …. give up!


  • Because that list is so long and filled with things we don’t know how to do yet.

  • Because we are overwhelmed.

  • Because we already have a full calendar.

  • Because we can’t see how to fit anything more in our lives, let alone everything on the list!

It feels impossible.

And even if we can squeeze out the time, our lives will be all work and no play.

Say goodbye to a balanced life, to family and friends, to hobbies, to Netflix, to rest!

So of course it totally makes sense to abandon the goal. Who wouldn’t?

But what if I told you that you were missing the most important thing that makes it all do-able?

A to-do list can’t survive on its own.

It is dead in the water without its companion - the NOT-TO-DO LIST.

This is what almost everyone that gives up on a goal before they get traction is missing. It is what gives you the space to do the things on that to-do list without going bonkers.

In order to make time for all those things on the to-do list you have to STOP DOING other things. It’s so simple, so obvious, but so many people don’t give this serious thought.

Here is how to get started with a NOT TO DO LIST:

  • Start with the low hanging fruit, like excessive time spent on social media “just browsing”, or shopping online for stuff you know you aren’t going to buy.

  • What are you doing that doesn’t resonate with your life/work goals

    • Make a list of 3-5 goals/values that are important to you (family, social impact, learning, career goals)

    • Then audit your activities for 2-4 days. Write down everything you do.

    • Notice all the things you do that don't coincide with any of your goals.

    • Stop doing them! You have a lot more wiggle room than you think about this. Trust me. It's the number one thing I help clients with.

  • What can you do more efficiently?

    • Can you order your groceries instead of going to the grocery store?

    • Can you plan to batch all your pesky errands in one afternoon so you don’t lose time interrupting goal oriented activities?

  • What activities can you combine to save time?

    • Listen to books on tape while you drive to work or work out.

    • Exercise with a friend instead of going for a meal with them after the gym.

Once you have your list, you have to actually STOP doing those things.

And it will be uncomfortable.

You might miss some of the things you did, you might disappoint other people, you might need to spend some money to achieve some efficiency.

But it's also uncomfortable to keep giving up on your goals.

So choose your discomfort!

Do you pick the one that keeps you stuck where you are or the one that moves you toward your goals?

Maybe the first thing on that NOT-TO-DO LIST should be to stop choosing comfort and ease over discomfort and growth.

Just sayin….

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