Lyden’s Life Lessons - Putting “To-Do” Lists in Perspective

Lake Nona senior Adair Lyden is back with another edition of Lyden's Life Lessons. See how a simple "To Do" List helps her get through a stressful senior year! (Photo by Caleb Wilson)

To do:

- start/finish college applications

- apply for scholarships

- email college coaches

- work for online classes

- homework for school

- practice


As a type A personality, I am a big fan of to-do lists. I think that they're awesome. They keep you organized and focused. They help you plan to get the most out of your time each day. But what happens when things don't go as planned on your to-do list? How do you respond?

My "To-Do"

For me, this senior season has consisted of many to-dos. I need to get my times down as fast as I can so that I can run at my choice college. I need to get my test scores up. I need to do this I need to do that. These "needs" form my to dos.

We like "to-do" lists whether they are an actual written list or just something we think about. We like to know our future -- to have it all planned out.

This past weekend at the UF Mountain Dew Invitational, my big "to-do" was to break 20 minutes. But things didn't go exactly as planned, and I missed my goal by over 40 seconds.

Ouch. There went my plan. But now, when I think about it, I actually accomplished a much greater "to-do." I learned an awesome lesson, and it's this: In my race, I was again reminded that life doesn't always happen the way I plan it on my list, and I have to learn to accept that fact. I can't always control my results -- and that's ok. But I can control my effort and attitude to persist toward my goals, no matter the results.

Redefining "Success"

I encourage you, if you are one to make to-do lists just as I am, to change your attitude behind them.

Too often, we approach these lists with a "if-this-doesn't-happen-then-I'm-screwed" kind of attitude. This negativity does nothing for us. In fact, it more often than not hinders us from actually achieving our goals.

If we simply changed our attitude behind the "to-do" to become "I will do my absolute best and give my all not matter the outcome," we will be more likely to succeed and achieve our goals.

Sometimes, we allow these lists to control us, instead of us using the list as a tool to help us stay on track toward our goals.

So, I challenge you: Whether your nagging to-do relates to running, to your work, to your school work, to your social life -- whatever it is -- to change your attitude behind it. Focus on what you can control and give your all. And then be at peace knowing that you did.

"The key to happiness is letting each situation be what it is instead of thinking about what it should be."

So, when we make our to-do lists, let's do so with such radiant positivity that they will lead us toward achieving our goals.

As always, run fast, keep the faith, and remember you are awesome.

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