Even an entire year later…still good advice to follow.
It’s amazing how many emails I’ve received in just the past couple of weeks, with tips on how to (finally) get organized. I know that this is not unusual for this time of year when all ads and articles aim to improve our lives in the upcoming 365 days (and beyond).
January is actually a really good time to set new goals for ourselves, with a fresh start to the year and the craziness of the Holidays behind us. Many of these goals, however will never be met. Why? My personal belief is that we often set goals that are too lofty. Goals that are almost unattainable, or at least not something that can be attained in the given time frame.
It makes me think of a something a friend recently said to me: “We have these unrealistic images in our heads of what the “perfect” home or the “perfect” body should look like. Such as choosing the image of a supermodel in her bikini as your goal. You start by working out and dieting as much as you can, but never feel quite satisfied with the results, because deep down in your heart you believe that you will probably never look like her. So you throw in the towel and think – why even try?” The problem with the picture of these “perfect” bodies is that this is what those models do 24/7. It’s their job to look like that. They don’t have another job like you and me and can concentrate on nothing but diet and exercise!
The same thing happens with other areas of our lives, such as the ever-present challenge to finally get better organized. We think that our homes should look like the images we see in magazines, which are unrealistic as well. These are pictures – no one actually lives in these spaces. Yes, we can have beautifully organized and decorated homes, but need to realize that there will always be maintenance and messes along the way. So let’s forget about those images and work on creating OUR best version of ourselves.
How then do we break that cycle of starting out and giving up? For me, the answer is to go ahead and set your goals high, but make them realistic. First, you will have your large goal – the BIG PICTURE – in mind. Next, you will need to break that goal into smaller, realistic and attainable goals. Let’s say that your overall goal for the coming year is to finally get your entire home organized. That’s great! Start by making a plan for every area that needs to be addressed and the listing them in order of importance. Highest ranked should be an area that is causing you the greatest anxiety and would simplify your life the most, then list the rest in order of importance.
If that first goal ends up being lofty in itself, you may need to break it down into smaller work sessions to avoid losing your momentum or getting discouraged. Set realistic time goals as well – as I have said so many times before – things did not get this way overnight, chances are it took months or even years. So, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get the project done in a day or two! Most importantly – find someone to help you stay on track, like a friend or a family member. It’s great to have an accountability partner to check in with once in a while, or even to lend a helping hand.
Not sure how to tackle the job or how to get started? The internet is a great resource for almost any project you want to tackle. If you still feel that you are in over your head, or just need someone to give you a little help, try going to NAPO's website and search for a professional organizer near you.