Why You Need a To Don’t List

  • Constantly buying things that don’t suit you?
  • Don’t know why?

My friend, you need a To-Don’t List. Let me explain…

There’s a beautifully backward logic to the To-Don’t List. Unlike To-Do lists that pretty much set you up for a fail (how often do you actually do what you have to do?), reversing the process creates less pressure and thus more flow.

This is what James Clear refers to as the ‘Bright-Line Rule’ – a clearly defined rule with little wiggle room which can be used to break bad habits and build new identity-based behaviours.  The Plastics did it (to less generous effect) in Mean Girls with their Draconian dress code: coloured shoes on Monday, slogan tees on Tuesday; the infamous pink on Wednesdays.

A more formative bright-line rule can be applied by ruling out what you don’t wear. In saying what you don’t as opposed to can’t wear; the bright-line rule flips the script from self-sacrifice to self-empowerment. What’s more, as Clear points out on his blog (Psyblog.co.uk), it turbo boosts our willpower by alleviating decision fatigue.   Break the list into the following sections:

  • Colours
  • Shapes
  • Styles
  • Trends

Be specific and more importantly, be honest. No point wearing a polo neck if you look like you’re being suffocated by a knitted guillotine. If calf width and knee boots conspire to restrict your blood supply, then do the decent thing and go ankle length.

Establishing boundaries means knowing your limits. Not sure what suits you? Tune into your feelings. If it doesn’t make you want a private moment in the dressing room then it’s probably not a keeper. If you don’t feel good in it; you won’t look good in it. If you don’t look forward to the next time you wear it; you won’t wear it again. Simple as.

It’s only by committing to what you won’t wear, that you are free to explore other, more fulfilling alternativeS that don’t involve carpel tunnel syndrome or a trip to A&E.  As restrictive as this exercise may sound, there’s a certain alchemy to it. Sift away the base metals of your wardrobe and you’ll soon find the gold – the core clothing values that make getting dressed a ritual rather than a routine.