Here’s why I stopped writing monthly todo lists

They didn’t work for me.

At the start of every month I used to write a bunch of goals (well more like to-dos), maybe around 25. At the end of every month I never failed to have at least a few things left.

28-31 days is a long time to plan for and I found myself just sort of creating a random todo list of stuff for the month that I just never stuck to.

I’d write them with good intentions but my actions for the weeks that followed were somewhat half-hearted.

Now granted the solution may have been to just get more committed but I actually just switched to weekly todo lists instead.

I’ve found that making plans for myself every seven days gives me a chance to be a lot more focused.

And as a result I’m slowly but surely getting better at getting things done.

 

Committing to the wrong thing

What do you do when you think you’ve made a mistake?

In times of great uncertainty it’s not surprising that people look to something safe to cling and commit to.

And so we end up playing it safe. Getting a good job and settling down because it’s easier to follow the rules than it is to actually figure out what you truly want.

But weeks, months or even years down the line you’ll get this feeling of longing and wanting.

This comfortable and stable life that you’ve carved out for yourself is great in some ways but it also leaves you unfulfilled.

You wake up, go to work, spend 8 hours doing stuff that you don’t really care about, come home, eat, talk about your day, watch a tv show and then go to bed. And tomorrow it’s exactly the same.

In a bid to have a safe and stable life you’ve gotten rid of the good stuff. The stuff that gives you the opportunity to learn and grow, to push yourself and see what you’re capable of, to experiment, try new things and to explore yourself.

In a bid to have a safe and stable life you said no to pursuing your dream life.

But why not pursue to the dream life instead and go at it with full gusto. Why not commit to living a life of joy, teach yourself to take chances and be okay with uncertainty. Why not find a job you enjoy, explore new things and visit new places.

Life is very different when you open yourself up to possibility and believe that you can do more than just get by.

Habits of your future self

If you’re not doing anything to bridge the gap between your present and future self, ask yourself ‘how do I expect to get there?’

Maybe you want to read more, wake up earlier, be more productive, write a book, start a podcast it could be anything.

But let’s take be more productive. How do you go from unproductive to productive?

I’d start with identifying the gap.

Is it procrastination, lack of commitment or focus?
What can you do to overcome that?

Trying the ‘do it now approach‘ for a month or so is a great way to combat a variety of issues. It reduces procrastination, encourages commitment and overtime will probably make you more productive.

If you don’t know about the do it now approach its fairly self explanatory but it’s origin lies in the desire to get things done instead of putting things off.

It’s replying to emails instead of flagging them, doing small tasks when they come up instead of adding them to your to do list.

If that sounds like the kind of person you want to be then challenge yourself and give it a go.

In a ‘say nothing’ kinda mood

And sometimes the best thing is to say nothing at all.

Because if someone isn’t willing to listen but is willing to argue and disagree you’re probably wasting your time and energy.

But other times the reason to say nothing is because you can’t quite find the words. You’re talking in phrases, stumbling over words and not quite making sense.

Maybe you need a moment of rest, a moment to not speak (or write) or make a grand statement about what you’ve discovered about life.

I’m in the mood to say nothing today but since I committed to saying something daily this is all I have to offer.

 

Testing the theory

Giving advice is easy but practicing what you preach takes commitment and belief. Especially when you as a reader don’t know what I do day to day so for you to take in or use what I say means I’m building trust.

A big part of that is being honest and living what I write. In a recent challenge that is set to become my biggest growth point I felt myself dwelling and wondered how long it would last.

That is until I remembered my post titled bouncebackability and I them started to think not about how dreadful the situation was but instead what I would need to overcome it.

Make a good habit easier

Implementing good habits into your life can be difficult and so you might be put off from making changes in your life.

However the simple thing that might not have occurred to you is that you can try to make a good habit easier to keep up with.

It could be as easy as placing a glass of water at your bedside every night and carrying a refillable bottle with you where ever you go.

Downloading a guided meditation that you can listen to offline and setting your morning alarm with a note that reads ‘meditation time’ as a prompt.

Creating an evening ritual of preparing lunch for the next day whilst listening to a podcast at a set time daily.

Think about how you can arrange your day to make the habit you want to start practicing a seamless part of your routine.

Once you do that you’ll notice things get a little easier as long as you’re committed and willing to try.

If you had a time machine…

The idea of going back in time and making better decisions, saying yes instead of no and being in the right place at the right time is quite appealing.

Maybe you think your life would improve tenfold if only you could go back and change a few little things.

Perhaps your right but the thing is time travel isn’t possible.

It might be much more useful to give some thought to what you can do today to cultivate the life you want right now.

Instead of wishing your present circumstances away commit yourself to changing them.

Our life paths aren’t linear so just because you went down road A initially, doesn’t mean you don’t still have access to almost every other road.