Creating My Own Zen: The NOT-To-Do list

Motherhood is hard. Wait, LIFE is hard. But the best part is we’re all in it together. Come join me as we find our own zen in the middle of parenthood, marriage, extended family, volunteering and just generally enjoying our time here in Lake County.

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The NOT-To-Do list

I love making lists. Yes, I’m one of the those crazy people who adds items I just completed to my “T0-Do list, just so I can cross them off. But, you’ll be surprised to find out I also have a “NOT-To-Do” list.

I am a firm believer in the “to-do” list and the “not-to-do” list. I’m talking about big picture, goals, 30,000 feet lists; not “clean the closet and empty the dishwasher lists.” Those lists are helpful too, but they don’t help you to create your own zen.

Creating my own Zen
© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2015


I always put worrying on my not-to-do list because it doesn’t do any good and I need to remind myself not to worry. I also need to not stress out on a daily basis about trying to lose weight. It’s not helpful or productive. What I choose to do instead is try and make healthier choices, fit some activity into my day and make sure I have good self-esteem and a healthy body image.
Some of the other things on my NOT-to-do list are:

  1. Worry about anything, really,
  2. Stress about family drama,
  3. Get Nervous,
  4. Volunteer for things that aren’t fun and I don’t want to do,
  5. Work with people I don’t like,
  6. Judge other people’s choices,
  7. Be mad at myself for not losing all the weight the first day on my diet,
  8. Assume,
  9. Talk more than I listen,
  10. Give up on my dreams.

Saying YES to one thing means saying no to another. Our time is finite. Everything is a choice. Choose items that your future self will thank you for.

© C. Keegan | Little Lake | 2015

A goal without action is only a wish! Don’t forget to write down your goals, too. Studies show you’ll have a significantly better chance at achieving them if you write them down.

This Year’s “To-Do” List:

  1. Reach my goal weight,
  2. Write (I love it…and I have several projects in process)– this also includes finding inspiration daily (meeting with friends, take time to think)
  3. Zero debt (personal goal this year to pay off credit cards).

The fantastic part about having concise lists is that I can glance at these three things and see if what I’m going to do fits into my goals. For example: “Should I go out to lunch today?” Well, yes I’d love to, but I brought a salad and I’m trying to lose weight and save money, so I’m accomplishing goals one and three by saying NO, eating the salad at my desk and going for a walk during my lunch break instead.

On second thought, meeting with friends IS inspirational, which accomplishes goal number two!

I never said it was easy….

Share your Zen! What’s on your Not-to-do list?

About Cheryl 49 Articles
Cheryl is a hyper-tasking mom (because who has time to only multi-task?) who stops to take pictures (and smell the roses), loves to jog (slowly) and volunteers way too much.

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