Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Make A Do-Not-Do List

The usual advice for many problems is to confront them and deal with them swiftly and surely. That is certainly true for many issues we face in life. But, there are times when the best way to deal with a problem is to avoid putting ourselves in potentially problematic situations or in situations that create temptations we know we will have trouble resisting.

• If you know there are some places you go, or some people you go with, that you end up regretting time after time, don’t do it again.

• If you know there are activities that have some “fellow travelers” that create problems for you, don’t engage in those activities. For example, if you know having a drink makes you want to smoke or vice versa, don’t do the first thing so you don’t do the second thing.

• If your experience shows you there are some people, situations or activities that bring out the worst in you or that make you upset, and you have not yet learned to control your reactions, do what you can to avoid them. You don’t need to make a big deal of it, just leave or don’t go in the first place.

• If you do not have enough self-discipline, will power or resistance to limit your time, money or appetite about something you enjoy, don’t try to do it just a little bit–don’t do it at all. You won’t stop at a little bit this time, any better than you have stopped the last dozen times.

Make a Do-Not-Do List: Write a list of the habits you would like to break, the repetitive things you do that you regret, or the activities or people that keep you from forming good habits, having peace of mind and feeling positive.

Next, consider if there are actions or people that seem to lead you to those negative aspects of your life. Consider how you can adjust, change, reschedule or eliminate contact with each of them. Or, perhaps it is a stand-alone problem with which you simply need to stop being involved. Remember that it is easier to eliminate temptation than it is to gain will power.

Create an Instead list: It may be helpful for you to make a list of what you will do instead of the thing you want to stop doing. I suppose you could call it a To-Do List, but I like the idea of understanding that you are replacing a bad thing with a good thing–and you will be much  happier as a result.

The opposite of “Just do it.” There are some things about which we should say, “Just do it!” There are some things about which we must say, “Just don’t do it!” You know which is which in your life and work.

Best wishes this week, as you make your Do-Not-Do-List. You can do it–and you can stop doing it, too!

November 15th, 2008 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development | 6 comments


  1. You must read my mind when you write these things! I have put myself in a situation that fits your ideas so well. I’ve tried to limit my part but I know I need to eliminate it from my life. Sorry for being so cryptic, but I know you get the idea….you’ve helped me a lot! P.

    Comment by P.A.H. | November 16, 2008

  2. Good post again and fits me. There are several places my wife and I don’t go anymore because we always spent too much money. Can you say Sam’s Club, Costco and Wal-Mart? I don’t know if that’s how you meant to apply this, but that’s the way I did.
    Have a great day! Mike B.

    Comment by Mike B. | November 16, 2008

  3. Hi Tina, it’s your Sunday morning reading group. All of us are writing to you because we’ve been making lists of things to not do! 🙂 You are so funny! I never thought about it but you are right about all of this, especially about some people being poison even if they don’t intend to be. But it’s hard to avoid them at work! Ideas? D.

    Comment by denisek | November 16, 2008

  4. Tina says:
    Hello P.A.H., Mike B. and denisek! Don’t you have work to do? I’m sending emails to each of you, but wanted to acknowledge your comments here. I wish everyone would comment as regularly as you three do! I appreciate it very much!

    Mike…the spending temptations you mention are definitely one way to apply this concept. Most of our problem behaviors are the result of thinking we can control something that we know is tempting for us. But, whether it is excessively buying, drinking, eating, gossiping, bad language, or anything else, the best way to avoid excessiveness is to not do it at all.

    That’s tough to accept, and may not be necessary for all situations. For example, someone may need to limit TV time, but may not need to completely eliminate it. But, there are some things we can’t allow in our lives, because for whatever reason, we just can’t control our behaviors.

    And, it might be a good idea to now and then try completely eliminating some of those seemingly non-problem activities for awhile, just to see how hooked we are on them! 🙂

    Denise: You may not be able to avoid being around someone at work, but you may be able to stop being alone with that person. Having others around can help dilute your requirements to interact.

    If you are asked to go to lunch or take a break with them, find something else you have to do, even if it’s a fictional project to work on. Get them out of the habit of being with you, just as you want to get out of the habit of being with them!

    Take care, you guys! Keep making your Do Not Do Lists!


    Comment by TLR | November 16, 2008

  5. Good ideas! I always like your different take on everything. I’m scheduled for the conflict class, so I’ll make sure I cause conflict and you can use me as an example!

    Comment by Wiseacre | November 18, 2008

  6. This really got me to thinking. Thanks. Good website all the way around. K.M.

    Comment by KM9907 | November 18, 2008

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