The Ultimate Not-To-Do List

A not-to do-list? Oftentimes, being a whole and fully functioning person is more about what we don’t do, than what we do.


At, we go into depth about how you can eat to increase your health. But physical health means little without its natural companions: emotional, spiritual and mental health.


Today I want to show you ten destructive patterns that can ruin your progress in your total-health journey.


Why not do a checkup, look inside? Ask yourself if you do these things. I check this list, and therefore myself often. It is not always easy, which leads us right into the first “not-to-do”…


1. Being unwilling to examine one’s own thoughts and underlying motivations.


Having the sense to know I don’t always have it right allows room for growth. I check in with myself often, and perhaps you do too. It can be easy to get so busy that we forget to “check under the hood” for awhile. We can soon become tired and irritable. 


Instead, create space for yourself. Take time to ask yourself how you are really doing. You ask other people that all of the time! “How am I really? What is my underlying motivation here?” Doing that often for yourself can open up great insight into your patterns and behavior. 


Being willing to look at ourselves, and accepting the darker sides of our motivations and actions, allows us to make better choices and live in freedom.



2. Not having the proper tools and guidance.

What if you set out on a road trip with no destination in mind, no road map, and no fuel? You wouldn’t get very far. Most of us start our day, our year, and just spend our lives, without stopping to ask ourselves where we are going, what we will need on the journey, and what supplies or skills do we need to get our destination.


The proper tools can make the vital difference and help you be clear in your plans and dreams. Finding a proper support group, or even a life coach can also supercharge your results.  Maybe you sign up for a class to gain the skills you want. Or, it could be something as simple as downloading an app to mark your progress.


Whatever it is, research has proven that the people with the most significant and longest term results have a support system.




3. Holding on to the past.

There is an old adage that says, “unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” If you are holding on to the past and someone else’s role in it, you have already noticed the suffering it creates.


What we focus on becomes the center of our lives. When we put unforgiveness or bitterness, or even just the past, in the forefront of our thoughts, we are driving while looking in the rearview mirror.


To move on and move into a healthy mental and emotional state, simply let go of the past. To use another adage:

“Leave the past where it belongs—in the past.”


If that takes professional counseling, conversations with a friend, or regular meditation and relaxation, leaving the past behind sets you free.


4. Judgement and blaming of oneself and others.

Judging others, and even ourselves, puts harmful expectations on people’s behavior. Judgement creates beliefs about how others should have acted. When they don’t measure up, and it inevitably this will happen, it creates disappointment.


When we judge ourselves, we harm our own self-belief. This creates a division and puts the mind at conflict with itself. We spend too much time and energy comparing what we should be doing versus what we are doing. Most of us have unrealistic expectations for both ourselves and others.


Letting go of “they should” and allowing people to live in their own space, without judgement, may take practice but yields great rewards. Realizing that judgement won’t change our (or anyone else’s) patterns, helps us let go of “I should” and to be kind to ourselves.


When we understand our beliefs and their effects, we can begin to change our patterns.


One of my favorite phrases is:

“Don’t should on yourself.”

I might add, “or on anyone else, either.”


5. Not making peace with one’s relationship with parents.

Often, even as adults, we still maintain our childlike reactions to our parents. We can be upset with the mistakes they made while parenting us. And making the transition to seeing them as people, and not just parents, is not always easy.



If you can, take a step back and look at your parents as just people, with life experiences unrelated to yourself. Before you were conceived, they had habits, faults, traumas, healings, broken dreams and happy memories. We are all complex, and parents have as much of a right to be who they are as we do.

Having grace with each other allows relationships to flower.

That often begins with being the first to extend the grace.

If you are estranged or if they were abusive, it may be time to make peace with that for your own sake. Sometimes you may be able to let go of judgement towards yourself and them. Other times you may need to get help so that you can be free. Letting go of traumas doesn’t mean things didn’t happen or that their actions were acceptable.  It just makes you a powerful person who is growing into your own destiny.


Making peace with our upbringing and our parents is a necessary part of our development and evolution.


6. Getting too busy, and using busyness as an excuse to avoid healthy habits.

Sometimes life can feel like a washing machine set on the spin cycle! But how do you keep healthy, both physically and mentally, when you have a really full life?


Well, busy and full are actually not the same thing. You can have a full life without having a hectic one. I have found that meditation and mindfully planning my meals and physical exercise ahead of time goes a long way in preserving my mental state during seasons of life that feel stuffed with “to do” lists.


My #1 secret to maintaining my healthy lifestyle:



Family food prep


And, it really is okay to say “no” to extra things. Saying “yes” to yourself is intelligent.


7. Not learning how to properly use the mind to work for you, instead of against you.

Your mind is incredibly powerful. You’ve managed to get as far as you have in life using only little of its capacity and ability. And, often times, allowing it to work against you. But it possible to put it to work for you!


First, there is an important distinction to make when you want to get the mind working for you:

You are not your mind.

Your mind would like you to think that you are only your mind, leaving out your true spiritual nature and the innate intelligence within you. Don’t be fooled. Operating from these deeper centers is where we find our balance and our power.


But also, learning how to access the power of the mind and getting it on your side, can create powerful changes in your life. A recipe for an unhappy life is to let the mind run wild, and believe that everything it throws up is true.


There are many, many resources available now to help anyone make better use of their own mind. Here is a link to a free mind exercise called Shift-in-5. In  just a few minutes, it can help you shift from an unhealthy or busy mind, into an open and productive mental state.


Shift In 5


8. Allowing negative thoughts to overrun the mind, the way weeds overrun a garden.

I heard someone say, “worry is meditation in the wrong direction.” Yes! How many times have you been about to fall asleep, and your brain suddenly comes up with the top ten worst things that could happen tomorrow?



We all know that most of those things never actually happen. But we don’t ever consider about the time and precious energy we waste thinking about the negative things.


It takes the same amount of energy, with much greater rewards, to dwell on what we want to happen.


Simple tools like writing down goals in great detail, creating a vision board, and writing a gratefulness journal really do help keep the mind focused on what you want, not what you don’t want.  Tracking your progress allows you to make course corrections and to adjust things as you grow.


9. Looking for others’ approval, and compromising the self for love and attention.

This is a big one for a lot of people. Most of us didn’t have the perfect, ideal childhood. When we miss those crucial developmental lessons as kids, we continue to look for acceptance and love from those around us for the rest of our lives.


Self-love is the first step, and when understood in its fullness, perhaps the only step we need. Self-love naturally leads us to healthy habits—emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally. And then we don’t look for others to fill those voids.


If you have had trauma, or you notice yourself in negative patterns of relationships and attention seeking, it is worth it to do the work. Sometimes seeing a counselor or working with an experienced mentor can really help give us the perspective and skills we need to develop self-love.


Meditation is powerful healer and self-development tool. Letting go of the past and embracing how powerful and unique you are can set you free on more levels than you could imagine.



10. Not listening to your own gut or intuition.

There are so many voices in our ears today—billboards, social media, our mother, our lover, TV, the list goes on and on. Most of us were never taught to listen to our inner voice, our own intuition. We answer too quickly to even think about what we are saying, or checking in with ourselves.


You are worth checking in with. Ask yourself if that new job offer is really right before you commit because of the salary. Ask yourself how will you really feel after eating that processed chocolate bar. It is not about judgment, but developing the habit of tuning in.

You could think of others’ opinions as being different people at a round table discussion. We let them all talk, but often, we don’t even put ourselves and what we really want at the table at all.

Invite yourself to the table.

Our subconscious is always talking, and often, when we listen, it will remind us, warn us, encourage us.

We are always better when we listen to ourselves first. The Self has a vested interest in what’s truly in your best interest, after all!  


Usually, when there is a problem in my life, it’s surfacing from me not paying attention in one of these areas, so I reference this list often. I hope it is as helpful to you as it is to me!



Get the mind to work for you!



  1. Carrie on March 25, 2018 at 15:49

    Thank you Dr Glo. Gave me lot to think about.

    • Gloriane Giovannelli on March 25, 2018 at 18:00

      You’re very welcome! It is a big one 🙂

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