2020: What Not to Do List

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Every New Year’s Eve, people make a proclamation (resolution) about what they’re going to do in the New Year. Yet, no one ever talks about what they’re not going to do. I thought about this for a while and I have developed a list of things you should not do in 2020:

You’re not going to quit:

Every year, you are going to face new obstacles and new challenges. Quitting will not get you any closer to your objective. In fact, quitting is the fastest way to stop all growth. If you never push past your so called breaking point, you will never know what you’re capable of achieving.

“Pain is temporary. It may last for a minute, an hour, a day, or even a year. But eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever.” – Lance Armstrong

You’re not going to dedicate money toward a hobby you never start:

If you’re serious about joining a gym and regaining control of your health and wellness, don’t make the mistake of signing a contract and never showing up. Just like any hobby, your health and wellness requires you to show up, even when you don’t feel like it. Plus, the applicable gym is going to collect their money, regardless if you’re there or not. Don’t just sign a contract with a gym, sign one with yourself.

You’re not going to stop the second you face adversity or failure:

Adversity and failure are a part of life. When you’re in the gym, taking the targeted muscle to failure should be your overall objective. By doing so, it forces the muscle to grow. There’s nothing magical about this.

Action = Results

The exact same principle should be applied in your life, outside of the gym. Failure and adversity are what creates growth. Without them, you will always be the same because you’re not giving yourself a reason to change.

You’re not going to make excuses:

Let’s just be honest, people sometimes find it easier to blame something or someone else for their circumstances. Instead of taking ownership for their shortfalls, it is much easier for them to say, “I didn’t get the job because my boss likes Bill more than me.” Even it that’s true, Bill’s personal relationships have nothing to do with your success.

Change the way you think by shifting your focus to solutions instead of excuses. It doesn’t matter if you, someone else, or an external circumstance is the reason why things are not working properly. Ask yourself, “What am I going to about this?” Leaders use this approach in effective conflict resolution.

You’re not going to invite people to a pity party:

Misery loves company because it helps us deal with a situation. Unfortunately, inviting more negativity into a situation is affirming you want to stay there. When you focus on your negative experiences, you activate your confirmation bias. You start looking for things to support why you’re feeling the way you do. “I’m not in a relationship so obviously I’m not relationship material.” This is the equivalent of dumping gasoline on a fire.

You’re not going to hibernate in your comfort zone:

You will never be capable of understanding your potential if you always stay in your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is a fantasy place inside your mind where you’re never challenged, questioned, or harmed. In this area, you don’t have to worry about the girl or guy telling you, “No, I’m busy this weekend,” because you never ask them. You just assume they’ll tell you no and don’t bother taking the risk.

Consider this: If people would have stayed in their comfort zone, we would not have cell phones, a television, electricity, running water in our home, a car, the internet, and every type of technology you can imagine. The people that brought these things into existence were told, “It can’t be done.” Or, “No one has done this before so why are you wasting valuable resources and time?” They didn’t listen and they worked in a field that was considered ambiguous.

On July 30, 1997 – I raised my right hand to enlist in the United States Army. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into because the situation was outside of my comfort zone. Twenty years later when I retired, I realized I made the right decision. I didn’t know what my career was going to look like but I recognized I was in a position to place myself in the driver seat and push forward into the unknown.

You’re not going to accept advice from people that already gave up on their dreams:

People love to give you advice on things you’re about to do. The problem is, their advice is usually in the form of projection. “If you take that job, you’re going to be sorry.” Translation: I took a similar job and because I wasn’t qualified for it, I was miserable. Due to their negative experience, they automatically assume the same thing is going to happen to you. They give up on their dreams and begin to see the world via this filter.

If you want the job, apply for it. If you’re offered the job, accept the position. You don’t always need to have all of the answers and skills to do something. But if you never try, you’ll never know. Therefore, be very cognizant about taking advice about things involving your success and future. This is your journey, not theirs.

You’re not going to associate with negative people:

The people you associate with are in a position to influence how you feel about yourself and the world. If you surround yourself with negative people, you too will eventually see the world via their filer.

“People in this world can’t be trusted!” Have you personally met everyone in the world to verify this? The obvious answer is no, you haven’t. Negative people do not view the world this way. They believe what they think without ever verifying it.

If you want to be happier, hang around happy people. If you want to be successful, hang around successful people. It all starts with you making a decision and taking inventory of the people you associate with in your personal and professional life.

You’re not going to seek approval from social media:

People have a habit of developing great ideas and then posting them on social media in an effort to get the approval of their peers. They place their own personal and professional development in the hands of other people. Why? Because they’re obsessed with getting Likes on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We believe if other people Like what we’re doing, we must be doing something right. The problem is, we forget that other people are not as invested in our success as we are. Obviously if you’re running a social media business, this is different. Do what you think is in the best interest of your future, not based on the amount of Likes you received on Twitter.

You’re not going to restart this vicious cycle on December 31, 2020:

People are always excited about something new, in the beginning. But after the short-term motivation runs out, they lose interest in their goal and start listening to their negative self-talk. “This is too difficult. You dream too big.” Therefore, by the time mid-February rolls around, they’re completely off track and start doing the same things they promised they wouldn’t do, back in December of the previous year.

Creating a What Not to Do List is the best way to break way this cycle. By focusing on what not to do, you will be more effective in the things you want to do.

My challenge to you: I challenge you to develop your What Not to Do List and continue to follow it throughout 2020. If it needs updated, make the necessary updates. However, don’t ever give up and tell yourself that you and you’re future are not worth it.

For more tips about how to become a better version of yourself in 2020, reference my latest book: