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Stop Letting Your List Make You Feel Guilty

Over the years I’ve spoken to a wide variety of people about their lists, some who always cross every item off their lists and some struggling to make lists at all. But there is one thing we all seem to have in common when it comes to lists – guilt over not getting it all done.

Even when it’s a small item I haven’t crossed off my list I feel compelled to find some reason why. I couldn’t get milk because I left a meeting late or I didn’t go for a run because it was too cold this morning.

The excuses we make always find something else other than ourselves at fault.

It’s not because we are necessarily trying to shift the blame, but because our brains like stories. We understand concepts and ideas better when they are presented in narrative form. So when we miss an item on our list we want to have a ‘story’ as to why it’s still there.

These stories can sometimes have positive effects on our lives, just by believing you’re a more lucky or more confident person you can make it so. But the stories we tell ourselves can also hold us back. We might avoid trying something new or taking on a difficult challenge because we believe we aren’t good enough or smart enough.

Once you release that it’s mostly in your head you can start to break out of these negative behaviour patterns. Read more