The Stop Doing List

“A strength is what you do that makes you feel strengthened.” -Marcus Buckingham

If this is so, then a weakness is what you do that makes you feel weak.

This thought blew my mind open this past week.

The very idea, that just because we may be good at something doesn’t mean that it’s a strength…unless it makes us feel stronger, energized, and empowered… and reversely, just because we may not be skilled at something doesn’t mean that it’s a weakness. All that really matters is whether we feel stronger or weaker in doing it.


Seems to me that this would be important information for making big decisions or setting important goals!

This time of year often comes with a big list of resolutions. All the things we want to start doing better.


What if we wrote a Stop Doing list instead?

What would happen if we intentionally quit doing the things that make us feel weak?

For me that list might look something like this:

Stop Doing List 2013

(Things that make me feel weak.)

  • Browsing the newsfeed of Facebook during downtime (and comparing myself to people!)
  • Checking my email or phone when I should be working, or having a face to face conversation with someone in my house.
  • Losing my temper every night at 8:30 p.m. (Bed time routine kills me nearly every night.)
  • Going to bed late for no good reason.
  • Not having a menu plan…which makes me feel like a loser every day at dinner time.
  • Watching LOST. (It gives me nightmares and I swear every morning after, I vow I shouldn’t watch it anymore because of how it makes me feel afraid of my own house.)
  • Speaking bad thoughts about myself in my head. Or out loud. Both happen too often.

I could go on and on. You get the idea.

The more we let our weaknesses (the things we do that makes us feel weak) drop out of our lives, the stronger we become. The happier we become.

Seems to me that ditching those things that bring us down and weaken our Spirits and minds can be a highly effective place to start living the life of progress we all desire.

Oh.. and the best part about all of this?

It makes room for our MANY strengths…which after the above definition should have totally inflated your strengths lists with new items:)

So, I can already happily declare that I have a great strength for meal planning! When I do it, I most certainly feel stronger 🙂

I’m feeling empowered already. How about you?!

11 Responses

  1. Very interesting! I too love this thought 🙂 I decided to not have a list of resolutions for this year, because we´re expecting our first baby and this will change our whole life anyway. But this is even better than having no list…now I´ll think about all the things I may want to stop doing. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oooh! Great idea Sandra! Having a baby brings a whole list of its own of things you have to “start doing” 🙂 A stop doing list for the rest of life is a great idea! Congrats on the new arrival! This is an exciting time!

  2. I just wanted to tell you that I relate a lot to your email about “stop doing” lol (i’m really bad about comparing my work to others)! look forward to your emails, they do inspire me…and i feel like i really need that! (sorry left my comment in the wrong place a min ago LOL)

  3. Hi Brooke This is so cool.It’s funny usually I have goals as well and this Year even though I have many things in my head i have NO GOALS….I just want to be HAPPY and Not complain about stupid things….Just enjoy and Do what I can….About meal planning I can give you ideas I never have a MEAL planning But I like to cook and Cook a lot !….so I try to have many veggies, chicken and Fish and you can do anything!! BUT if you have it planned it may be easier for you to know In advance what to cook! see you this month in the new course.

  4. Brooke–
    Not only are you an amazing & inspirational photographer, but you are also an amazing & inspirational ROLE MODEL. I’ve been struggling with THE SAME exact issues on your “stop doing list.” (minus the Lost part…haha). I really like how you shared about FB. I did Sarah’s 31 days of life unplugged and it recently ended for me. While I cheated a little bit… I still felt so refreshed and more confident about myself. The minute I let myself back on is when I started feeling down about myself again! I’m definitely going to make a “stop doing list”! What a simple, yet life-changing idea! Thanks again! 🙂

    1. Lindsay! Thank you for your kind comments! And congrats to you for going 31 days unplugged! No small achievement in today’s plugged in culture! I need to take the same challenge! Thanks for the push!

      1. Hi Brooke–
        Today, I went through my “friends” on facebook and deleted people that made me feel less than what I should be feeling, I unchecked “show in newsfeed” for every body in my friend list, I “unliked” a lot of what I thought I “liked”, and while I kept photographers I like “liked”, I unchecked them from my newsfeed so that I wouldn’t feel bad about myself and still show them support. Then, I hid the sidebar that tells me what everyone is doing. Many days I want to delete my account, but Jesus says to be in the world not of it. Look at the impact YOU are making with technology! So, I can still have a fb acct., but those little changes have already helped me FEEL BETTER and still be able to share my photography with friends and loved ones!

        1. OMG! I love this!!!!! You are the coolest person ever! I didn’t even know that I had all those options! I have wanted to do a “cleanse” to my facebook but someone told me that anyone I deleted would get notified and I didn’t want to make people feel bad! I should just do it anyway! I think this is brilliant!

  5. Brooke – this resonates SOO much with me this year. I have spent WAY too much time comparing myself to others and then feeling bad. I did a FB cleanup a few weeks ago and it felt REALLY good. And, if you figure out how to do the menu thing let me know. I am TERRIBLE at this and I agree, it makes me feel awful when I don’t have a plan for putting food on the table. Great list.

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