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103 Examples of a To-Not-Do List

A to-not-do list is a list of things that you have prohibited yourself from doing. These can be considered goals, objectives or intentions of inaction. A to-not-do list can resemble a list of principles or can simply be a list of habits or mistakes that you would like to avoid. The following are illustrative examples of to-not-do items.
Addiction / Habits that can lead to addiction.
Addressing symptoms of a problem without fixing its cause.
Allowing a problem to consume all your time.
Arrogance / Behaviors that may be perceived as arrogant.
Avoiding risk / Failing to take opportunities.
Avoiding tough decisions.
Becoming overly emotional in difficult situations.
Being cold / Not showing feelings.
Being fake
Being hesitant to ask for help when you need it.
Being inflexible / impractical
Being late
Being mean
Being self-absorbed
Being selfish
Being too concerned with money.
Being too concerned with social status.
Being too concerned with what others think.
Being too easy on yourself.
Being too hard on yourself.
Being too political
Being unrealistic
Borrowing for unnecessary spending.
Complacency / Mediocrity
Conforming to groupthink.
Cramming at the last moment before a test.
Eating certain food items.
Eating while cooking.
Excessive media consumption
Failing to keep in touch with loved ones.
Failing to listen to others.
Failing to meet commitments.
Failures of gratitude.
Getting distracted when working / studying.
Getting stressed out about minor annoyances and problems.
Getting stressed out about minor insults and slights.
Getting sunburns
High sugar foods
Impolite behaviors
Interrupting others
Jealousy / Envy
Judging others too soon without really knowing them.
Judging situations too soon without an open mind.
Lack of diligence - doing things in a sloppy or unprofessional way.
Looking at screens in social situations or during meals.
Looking back in anger / bitterness.
Low quality foods
Low quality time - e.g. wasting time on low quality media consumption.
Making excuses
Making unjustified assumptions.
Negative behaviors
Negative sarcasm
Not being honest with yourself.
Obsessing over negative things / Forgetting the positive side of things.
Obsessing over things that are beyond your control.
Overeating / Under-eating
Overrelying on others
Passive aggressive behaviors
Paying high interest.
Poor hygiene habits
Poor listening habits
Poor safety habits such as not wearing appropriate safety gear.
Rash decisions - quick decisions that aren't properly considered.
Repeating painful mistakes that are avoidable.
Replaying negative events in your head.
Saying things you don't mean.
Schadenfreude - joy at the misery of others.
Sharing too much personal information.
Shopping habits
Skipping exercise
Skipping hygiene routines
Social media apps
Social media behaviors
Speaking without thinking in important situations.
Spending time with people who aren't on your side or who are overly negative.
Staying up too late.
Taking uncalculated / foolish risks.
Tasks that you can outsource / delegate.
Thinking small
Thinking too big
Thinking too much about the past / future.
Unnecessary perfectionism
Unproductive, thankless and meaningless tasks.
Unprofessional behavior
Using cliches / Buzzwords
Video game habits
Violating reasonable norms - e.g. making noise late at night
Wasting time
Working excessively late
Some of the items above can be difficult to achieve and measure. These can be viewed as intentions or principles as opposed to goals. For example, you may want to avoid overthinking but the line between overthinking and under-thinking is often unclear. As such, not overthinking things is not really measurable as a goal but is potentially useful as a principle.
Overview: To-Not-Do List
A list of things that you have prohibited yourself from doing.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about goals.
Big Goals
Business Goals
Concrete Goals
Service Goals
Daily Goals
Efficiency Goals
Employee Goals
Future Goals
IT Goals
Leadership Goals
Learning Goals
Long Term Goals
Management Goals
Measurable Goals
Outcome Goals
Performance Goals
Personal Goals
Process Goals
Productivity Goals
Professional Goals
Quality Goals
Stretch Goals
Types of Objectives
Work Goals
Workplace Goals
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