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Toss or Keep; To Do or Don't

Years back I heard a very wise man say, “When you are making your ‘to-do list,’ remember that your ‘to don’t’ list is equally important.” I have learned that this is so very true. The things I don’t do, the things I eliminate from my life, are just as important as the elements I keep and build. To accomplish this, I must be ruthlessly honest with myself. That’s when growth happens.

What do you need to eliminate from your life? You need to take a close and honest look. Just as a vine keeper prunes the grapevine so the fruit will be bigger and better, you need to cut some things out of your life so that your life will really matter; you will have the time, energy, and influence to make a difference.

Let’s start with the wrong people. Everyone has someone in their life who is a detriment and not helpful. Quit giving time to people who don’t promote your growth and bring you joy. We often cling to people who are toxic for us because they validate us in the short term, but they’re harmful in the long term. I’ve been in relationships where I knew they were holding me back. You have too. It might be a relationship with the opposite sex, friendships, business partnerships… They tear you down instead of building you up. You don’t need that in your life, and you don’t want to do it to someone else. Let them go.

Then there are the wrong places. Any place that encourages wrong choices, unwise lifestyle behaviors, or are environments conducive to people who don’t support you or your values needs to go. If a certain location or place continually makes you feel bad, less than, or uneasy, do what you can to eliminate it. Your environment dictates your mood. It’s hard to be positive in a negative environment. Be very intentional about finding and developing an environment that’s healthy and supportive.

There are wrong habits we must toss. One is comparing ourselves to others. Social media and constant communication have made this an easy trap. Comparison is deadly. It will steal your joy. It will make you resentful and jealous. It can easily fracture relationships and end long-term friendships. When we work to eliminate comparison, we will begin to see there is enough of everything for all of us and our self-worth will grow. But you must intentionally toss comparison or you will never see it!

Another habit to eliminate is obsessing over failure. Instead of constantly dissecting your failures and problems, start studying your successes. See how you can use former success to jumpstart where you are now? Celebrate your wins! When you actually spend time thinking about what you did right, you make it possible for more positive behaviors to occur. We often tend to obsess about our failures instead of celebrating our wins.

Desire for instant gratification is a killer. If we are honest, we know that all of us want things to be instant. Psychological studies show that children who are trained to delay gratification are much more successful and satisfied as adults. Refuse to feed that addiction. Focus on what you can do in the waiting so that you can reap the rewards in the future. There are plenty of rewards for those who have the discipline to strategize around what to keep and what to eliminate. Think about these five things for starters. What do you need to eliminate in this list ASAP?

Be honest with yourself. Satisfaction is on the other side.

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