“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do” – Steve Jobs
I am the queen of making a “To do List”. Each night I make a list of the things I plan to do the next day. Yesterday I wrote I needed to get my blog done today. I seriously think you always need a plan if you plan to get anything done. My list are a little more lax on the weekends but come Sunday night you will catch me with my planner and fancy pen getting ready for Monday.
I am also a big fan of time blocking. I decide what my “One Thing” will be and make sure I get that accomplished first thing in the morning. If you have not checked out that book you need to. It really transformed how I think about things on a day to day basis.
Plug for “The One Thing” by Gary Keller.
Ironically this post is not about a to do list. It’s about a to don’t list. I didn’t even plan for this to be my thing for the month but as usual God had another plan. Last week I took my son on The Donut Trail. The Donut Trail consist of twelve local donut shops in our area. You start off by getting a passport from either a donut shop or online. At each stop you collect a stamp and when you have all the stamps you get a free t-shirt. For the past three years my son and I have done the trail in one day. Yes we drive to twelve donut shops and each get a donut and a stamp. When we are done we pick up our free t-shirt then head to breakfast. If you are thinking this is insane it is. What makes it crazier is we have to start at 6am-7am because many of the donuts shops run out of donuts and close. If you miss one stamp you get no t-shirt. That would defeat the purpose of the adventure so we set our alarms and get moving.
To be clear you don’t have to do the trail in one day. Its just so much fun and such a bonding thing its become tradition. We look forward to our free shirt and we always wear them for the first day of school. We almost missed this year due to Covid but we were so glad all the shops were able to reopen. Not only do we get to support local businesses but just spending time with my kids is priceless.
As you can imagine coming home with twelve donuts a piece is crazy. What stresses me more is that all the donuts are delicious. I am not going to post pictures of the donuts but I really wanted to. My favorite is The Buckeye. This is a cake donut with peanut butter cream in the center drizzled with chocolate. It’s as good as it sounds. My sons favorite is a glaze donut that is topped lucky charms. If that was the extent of the great donuts we wouldn’t be fat. No there was a cheesecake donut this year, apple fritters the size of bears claws, something called a sugar square which is exactly what it sounds like, and a chocolate/vanilla twist. Every year I think I have seen it all and these artisans surprise me. Donut making is an art and I give these bakeries all the credit for getting up at 1am to make donuts. FYI- two of the shops open at 3am.
I’m sorry. I have you all wanting donuts. Snap out of it.
Anywho because of this donut wonderland the first day I ate three donuts. The second day I ate three more. I realized at this rate I would eat a dozen donuts in four days and that just sounded fat. Not as fat at eating a dozen Krispie Kreme because you see the “Hot and Ready” sign but just as fat. By the way I don’t eat Krispie Kreme donuts. I’m not a glaze fan but I put the reference in the blog for my best friend. She better be reading this. I hope the shame prevents her from eating the whole dozen.
Getting back to my point. By day three I realized I needed to do something. On the top of my journal I wrote “I will not eat a donut today”. That was it. That simple phrase. I was going to call it a win if I made it through the day without eating a donut. Guess what? I did.
I don’t know if that was the spark that got me going in the right direction but it seemed like I got my mojo back after that. The next day I wrote “I’m not going to sit during my conference call”. I didn’t write what I was going to do, but I knew I wasn’t going to sit. When the time came for the conference call I got out of my chair and figured I might as well walk on the treadmill. Twenty minutes later I had a mile in and had completed another task on my to don’t list. As much as I loved checking off the boxes on a to do list. Putting a check mark next to the to don’t list felt ten times better.
I wasn’t beating myself up. I was simply naming one thing that I wouldn’t do that day. Each day was different but each day meant something. Another day I wrote “I will not drink soda”. The funniest one for me was “I won’t complain about eating vegetables”. Each time I didn’t do that one thing and each day I felt like I had accomplished something. You want to know the best side effect of all this? I felt my depression leaving me. I was having more good days versus bad days. As a bonus I lost a pound. Yes I am back to 270. Being prediabetic I decided to start testing my sugar again and I decided I like the way I felt so I wanted to keep it going.
I believe timing is everything. Always having a list of a million things to get done was not working. Here is an example of what my weight loss to do list would look like:
- Drink 64 ounces of water. I never did this
- Eat three healthy meals
- Don’t eat any snacks. Didn’t even come close.
- Workout for 30 minutes
- Meditate or do yoga. It sounds good.
- Close your Apple Rings.
Do you see the kind of pressure I put on myself. I was writing this list every day and usually it was much longer. Please note this is my weight loss list, not even my list for work or home stuff. Just getting this on paper each day was a chore. I went from all of the above to “Don’t sit during your conference call”. That was the switch I needed to get myself together.
I’m so glad I was able to finally begin to get over the hump of the depression haze. I’m not turning off my brights just yet but I am better. I’m a little behind my weightless schedule but I am much better than I was before. I’ve lost 20 pounds in nine months and I have no intention on gaining it back. Even with the weight I gained back over this time there are 10 pounds that are gone from my frame forever.
My message this week is to create a to don’t list. Stay focused so you can spend more time celebrating your wins instead of killing yourself with things you need to do. I tell people all the time “You know what to do. You don’t need me to tell you what to do”. I need to take that advice myself. I know what to do. I just need to focus daily on listing the one thing I won’t do for the day so I can celebrate all the things I did do. I’m changing my mindset a little each day.