A stop doing list


New Year’s Resolutions is often just that, a resolution. I love making New Year’s Resolutions since they give me a chance to list:

  1. Things to stop doing;
  2. Things to do more of; and
  3. New things to do.  

I now know that if you want to successfully keep with your resolution, you need a clear strategy, I chose the strategy of going public with my unique resolution by telling my loved ones, mentors, friends, and colleagues at work what I planned to accomplish. 

This has worked beautifully in two ways: 

  • Not wanting to embarrass myself by failing has been an effective psychological tool; and 
  • The support and encouragement from others has been a powerful positive reinforcement.

Dear reader, you must by now, be quite anxious to learn about my unique New Year resolution. It is simply a ‘Stop Doing’ list that was influenced by the article Best New Year’s Resolution? 

A ‘Stop Doing’ List by one of my favourite authors and management thinkers, Jim Collins.

My stop doing list included:
  1. Believing I’ve got unlimited time.
  2. Overextending myself.
  3. Skipping gym.
  4. Checking my email in meetings.
  5. Rushing through life.
  6. Saying ‘yes’ when I mean ‘no’.
  7. Believing I don’t have time to think.
  8. Not having time for dates with my girls.
  9. Not listening actively. You might want to read these active listening tips.
  10. Forgetting to be grateful.

What keeps you from performing academically at school or from saving for education? Make your Stop Doing List now!

If you are struggling to maintain your New Year’s resolutions and want to get back on track here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Make sure that your resolution includes specific steps. For example, “Saying that you will save money every month�? is a good goal but is still too vague. Instead say “I will save R500 per month in an equity only Exchange Traded Fund.�?  Even better, consult a financial planner to create a realistic savings and investment plan for you. You might want to read about investing with your head and not your heart.


  • Write down your resolutions. Research shows that writing down goals can enhance goal attainment. Even better, write down a specific behavioural action required to achieve the goal. In the savings example above, this could be “reducing the number of times I eat out and carrying lunch to work.�? So, the goal becomes “I will save R500 per month in an equity-only Exchange Traded Fund by reducing the number of times I eat out and carrying lunch to work.�?


  • Make it public as I did with my unique resolution.


  • Prepare for setbacks. Research shows that encountering a setback is one of the most common reasons why people abandon their New Year’s resolutions. Even better, write down when the setback happened and what might have triggered it.