The Don’t List


Being an organized person, I have a number of to-do lists floating around my life.  One by one, I draw a line through each task as its completed – I love the feeling of marking something off the list! While I love the idea of tracking all the “do’s” in my life, I was recently reminded that the “don’ts” are just as important.

A prompt in my writer’s group put forth the idea of making a don’t list.  At first, this seems like a very negative list to make, but its really an opportunity to be positive and consider new possibilities. My don’t list became an itemization of uplifting reminders (and a little bit of humor).

Don’t . . .

. . . give up

. . . give in

. . . be mean

. . .  be negative

. . . be too hard on yourself

. . . listen to your inner critic

. . . stop writing

. . . forget to laugh

. . . get in a snit over stupid stuff

. . . lose a sense of wonder

. . . eat pink jelly beans. They are always gross.

. . . take gossip seriously

. . . limit creativity

. . . let a number define you

. . . leave dishes in the sink

. . . trust GPS completely

. . . buy anything unless you know exactly where it’s going to go

. . . live beyond your means

. . . try to train a cat (unless you want to see an “are you kidding me” face)

. . . leave a mess

. . . eat food that has ingredients you can’t pronounce

. . . listen when someone says, “you can’t”

. . . let go of your inner child

. . . stop traveling

. . . pass up a custard filled doughnut (no matter what diet you’re on)

. . . park your car like an idiot

. . . believe everything you hear

. . . put a book down

. . . forget your dreams

. . . complain about the weather.  It is what it is.

. . . buy shoes if they hurt your feet

. . . throw out what can be reused, recycled, or upcycled

. . . try to be something you’re not

. . . leave chocolate out in the open at work.  Keep a stash that no one can find.

. . . show up late

. . . forsake the little things that matter most

. . . let a day go by without being grateful for something

– – –

What’s on your don’t list?

– – –

c.b.w. 2012


58 thoughts on “The Don’t List

  1. A very interesting idea! I should totally make one of these myself. Off the top of my head a couple of entries would be “Dont…
    …get impatient with the baby when you know she doesn’t know any better
    …let your husband off when he DOES know better
    …stop believin’…lol


  2. Great list!! Definitely something I’ll need to think about 🙂

    Also, I nominated you for a Very Lovely Blog Award and the Inspiring Blogger Award, ’cause your creative explorations and your words and an awesome source of joy and inspiration to me 🙂 xo.


  3. You really expanded your list from Tuesday! I haven’t. I’m too focused on my “to do” list-like you, I have many. Don’t: forget to smile and laugh, be rude, skip dessert if you really want it, keep quiet if you have something to share, keep yourself in ignorance, hide your light, forget to play, squash your gifts, believe everything you see/hear/are told, get sucked into the media hype, allow others to make you feel insignificant/small/guilty/angry/worthless/unloved.


  4. Don’t worry about things I can’t control.
    Don’t forget to water the garden.
    Don’t overwater the garden
    Don’t drive too fast.
    Don’t be impatient.
    Don’t judge to quickly.
    Don’t be too serious.
    Don’t stress over deadlines.
    Don’t forget to look up at the world around me.
    Don’t forget to read, write, and do art Everyday.
    Don’t forget to spend time with your friends.


  5. Don’t second guess yourself.
    ………talk mean to yourself.
    ………believe “the checks is in the mail” or “I’m sterile.”
    ………buy it if it will fit once you “lose a few pounds.”
    ………walk past a dog you can pet and say hello to.
    ………miss seeing both the sunrise and the sunset on the same day.
    ………wait to tell someone that they matter to you.
    ………cast your pearls before swine.
    ………expect people to guess what it is you need. Ask them!


  6. Reblogged this on Robin Coyle and commented:
    My post tomorrow will be on lists. A different kind of list than what C.B. wrote about here, but this is great foreshadowing for my next blog post. C.B.’s list of “to-dont’s” is priceless. I agree. Stay away from pink jelly beans.


  7. Love it! It was fun to play with this on my walk this morning.

    Don’t be surprised when the hair stylist says he’s going to trim an inch and he takes off three
    Don’t assume when I could ask
    Don’t ignore the cat when he’s trying to tell me something
    Don’t rush
    Don’t be late
    Don’t try to keep up with the 23 year olds in yoga class
    Don’t do it later when I could do it now
    Don’t forget to follow up
    Don’t take it personally


  8. I LOVE lists but they are more in the ‘to do’ department. A few of my don’ts are:
    —don’t stress over the small things
    —don’t forget to butt out of my daughter’s life
    —don’t forget to be happy

    Lovely topic, this post. Thanks.


  9. What a great list, C.B.! 🙂 Really good… My addition to all this would be…
    «don’t forget to give yourself a little time to ‘just sit around’ and think»

    I’m fallen so behind on blogging/reading/commenting it ain’t funny! Trying to catch up now, the best I can..


  10. Wow, I love this list! I think I would reuse everything you have on my list, except I’d replace “custard filled doughnut” with “strawberry milkshake”. Otherwise, we are completely in sync.


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