Stop Doing List

I’m all about the lists- I have a big ole planner and it’s full of lists. Every morning, I journal a list of things I’m grateful for and at work, I make lists to prioritize things. Most of us who make lists are making lists of things to do. But the most game changing list I ever made was a stop doing list.

A few years ago, at some meeting or something, somebody was speaking and said just that- what if instead of a to do list we made a stop doing list? I really hadn’t been paying much attention on the whole, but that really resonated with me. I felt so much pressure at that time of my life to do and be everything. I’d find myself adding and adding things to my list.

So I went home that day and I literally sat down and looked at my vision board and then I looked at my planner and thought, what on these is incongruent? What is on my daily to do lists that really doesn’t align with the life I want to live?

This was one of the greatest moments. I started writing down all the extra things in my life. Things that seemed like they needed to be there but which didn’t really align with who or what I wanted my life to be. Of course, we all have responsibilities and obligations. But how many of those are actually necessary when you stop to think about it? When I started to weed things out, everything got better. I stopped agreeing to do things that I really didn’t want to do or couldn’t do. I stopped dreading things. I stopped feeling as guilty and stressed- this has a huge impact on one’s health and well-being.

Then I started feeling really, really stressed in November. Everything was coming to a head. I realized that I had let things get out of control again. I was adding way more to my to do list than my stop doing list. I have to keep those in balance. I don’t have infinite time, wisdom, patience, etc as much as I’d like to believe that I do. Something’s gotta give, go, get, whatever I have to do to keep things in check! So I revisited my stop doing list. Stuff had crept back into my life. And so, I intentionally moved into this holiday season, with the help of my boyfriend, saying, if it’s not already on the calendar, it’s not going to be added.

This has absolutely changed my holiday season! We have lots of have to do’s- how often are we looking at the get to do’s? I am enjoying the holiday season so much more now, that all of those to do’s feel like get to do’s this year!

Are there things in your life that don’t align with the life you’re dreaming of? I would encourage everybody to pause, consider how much of your time you’re just “getting through,” and eliminate anything that’s getting in the way of living your life on your terms.

52 Hike Challenge: Recap

I decided to take on the 52 Hike Challenge last year at Thanksgiving. I had been hiking for a while- it is something I have always enjoyed. I didn’t make much time for it thought. But when I became a single mom of three young children, everything changed. I started hiking more and more often, with my children and alone. I found myself going hiking at least once a week. I challenged myself to hiking mountains. And as someone who loves a good goal or challenge, I stumbled upon the 52 Hike Challenge last Thanksgiving when I was looking up #OptOutside information. I decided since I was already hiking on at least a weekly basis, the challenge would motivate me to continue.

Fast forward to this Thanksgiving….

61 hikes later…

1,535 photos later…

Nearly 200 miles later…

I reflect on the past year’s hiking challenge. I remember when I first became a single mom. I was so scared for so many reasons. Fear ruled my life. I fought it, because that’s so not me. It was tough. Outdoor time is really important to me, and it is a priority for me to encourage in my children. They hiked with me. It was something we could do that was free, fun, and unique- different every time. It was an activity that helped me cope with the transition of not having my kids at home sometimes.

These hikes became my therapy. Changing my life, one step at a time. Heading onward and upward with each mile. I discovered so much out there. I re-discovered myself. I overcame so many of my fears. I learned that I was way stronger than I ever gave myself credit for- physically, mentally, emotionally, and then some.

I learned about my kids! I got to know them on a new, deeper level. Their interests, their questions- it all just thrilled me. I love letting them explore. I have the patience to be out there for hours, going at their pace, letting them lead me. It is just my favorite thing. It’s so special to us.

I started taking my boyfriend with me. He was completely new to hiking. He has pushed himself beyond what he ever imagined, and I am so very proud of what we’ve accomplished together. We learned a lot about each other, our relationship, and ourselves.

I am so grateful for this journey. I am already excited about this coming year. Something I would do differently is track/log every hike and keep a journal, so that’s what I’ve started doing. I’ve done two hikes this past week since Thanksgiving. I’m excited to see what’s to come.