Ah, the New Year! What a great time to set new goals for ourselves, to dream big, and to reinvent ourselves.
University of Scranton research suggests that an average of 40% of Americans make New Year's resolutions each year, however, just 8% of those people actually achieve their New Year's goals.
So, what is it, that is keeping us from reaching the goals, that we set for ourselves, be it in the New Year, or any other time?
1. Habits - bad ones are hard to break, and new habits are hard to establish.
2. Time - our super busy lifestyles with work, kids, taking care of our homes, etc.
3. Motivation - this is a big one! We are usually super motivated when we set out on a new venture, it's hard however, to keep the momentum going.
The number one resolution in the New Year usually involves wanting to live healthier, losing weight and getting in shape. Also right up there is to get better organized. I honestly think that there is a correlation between the two and that organizing our homes and our time will help us live healthier lives, both physically and mentally. Look at this as an investment in yourself.
So, what can we do to finally achieve this resolution of living a more organized and healthy life?There are several steps to get us there, most importantly though, we need to set proper goals for ourselves. Although I am not an expert on this subject, I do feel that most of us don't succeed because we set up goals that are too lofty. Now, I am not suggesting that you shouldn't dream big. By all means, do! Just be realistic by setting several mini-goals, or milestones, on your journey to the ultimate goal. This will help you stay focused and less likely to give up, because you are feeling defeated. Creating a plan on how to reach those goals is also key to our success.
Let's use an example: You are overwhelmed by the stress and demands of your daily schedule, your house feels cluttered and things often get lost in the shuffle. So, you begin dreaming of living a more organized life. You imagine what it would feel like to live in a home free of clutter, to better manage your time, so you can do more of what you love. Hold onto that image, this is your ultimate goal! Feel free to insert whatever your dream, or goal is... the process to reaching your personal goal should be very similar.
Now it's time to turn your dream into reality - and remember - things didn't get this way overnight, so it will take some time to change them.
If your ultimate goal is to organize your entire home, you will need to break it down into several smaller projects, perhaps one space/room at a time. Devise a master plan of all areas that need work, and then list them in order of priority. Next, you will need to begin thinking of what it would take to achieve each one of these steps, or mini-goals.
1. How much time can you (realistically) devote to a project each week?
Whatever time period you decide on, schedule that time slot in your calendar and honor it! Treat it just like any other appointment you make.
2. What would help you to stay motivated to continue on your journey?
Will you have the drive to do this alone, or do you have a friend, or a family member that could possibly help? Many of my clients have mentioned that having another person there, helped them feel accountable and stay on track. For additional support and inspiration you may also want to join on-line groups, or perhaps create a board on Pinterest, with pictures of your favorite organized spaces.
3. How would you begin the de-cluttering process?
Have a plan and be prepared. Give yourself some space for the sorting process. Arm yourself with tools; such as labels, markers, bags and empty boxes for trash and donations. Sort the "keepers" into like items and store them in appropriately sized, labeled bins or containers. Again, you could go to the internet for inspiration of how to organize spaces.
Celebrate your achievements! Once you are done with one space, take a moment to rest and reflect on what you have accomplished. I like to take before and after pictures. It lets you see all that you have done, and may be the motivation you need to keep going.
Keep up the good work. Continue to schedule time to work on these mini goals. Once you have organized all areas on your list, it is important to work on maintenance. This is where you will have to work on creating new habits. Now that you've created new homes for each item, be sure to put everything in its intended place, whenever you are done using the item. When bringing new items into your home, make sure to use the one in, one out, rule whenever appropriate. Setting limits is also a good way to keep things from accumulating. If you have an affinity for knick-knacks, shoes, or clothing - set limits. Once you reach the limit, remove an old item and donate it every time you purchase something new.
Hopefully some of these suggestions will help you stay the course, and reach your goal this year. Would like some guidance on how to get started, how to create your master plan, or would you like someone to coach you? Call me to create your own customized plan to fit your needs and budget. I'd love to help you realize your dream of living a clutter-free and organized life.