I recently attended an “Organize and Energize” Workshop hosted by a fellow professional organizer, Karen Meade of Let’s Get Organizing. It was a great way to start the new year learning how to get organized, get fit, and stay healthy. Karen started out the workshop by pointing out that one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions was: “get organized.” I jumped on the internet after the workshop and sure enough…about 7 of the 10 articles I read had “getting organized” as one of the top 10 goals for the new year! It actually came in higher than losing weight or getting fit on some of the lists! Really? Yes! I don’t know why I was so shocked. I see folks and clients who struggle every day with being disorganized and can understand why it’s so frustrating.
When you live a life of disorganization, everything else seems to spiral out of control…your work…your family life…your mental health…your physical health…and even relationships. But when you start to get organized, you start feel more in control and can concentrate more on the things that are important to you: your work…your family…your health…traveling…volunteering…etc. So it’s no wonder folks want to get organized. Because hopefully if they get organized, the other things will start to fall into place.
So, if you’ve decided that getting organized is a goal of yours…GREAT! Just a word of caution…a lot of New Year’s resolutions fail because folks don’t commit to them. Here are a few recommendations to make sure your resolution becomes a reality:
1. Define your goal. Saying you want to get organized isn’t enough and is probably a bit too broad of a goal. You need to be more specific: ” I want to better manage my time so I am not late to work or special events” or “I want to organize my home office and my kitchen this year…maybe in six months or less.”
2. Break your goal into bite-sized chunks. Saying you want to organize your entire house in two months is enthusiastic but a bit unrealistic. I suggest picking one space that’s a priority for you to get organized (an office for example) and break it down into smaller organizing chunks. For example: Jan = organize desktop; Feb = organize file cabinet; Mar = organize book shelf; April = organize supply cabinet, and so on.
3. Change the language and your thought process. Instead of saying I “want” say I “will” do this! Seems silly but I’ve always been a proponent of positive thinking and know that saying I “want” is like wishing on a star as opposed to saying I “will” which motivates and challenges you to take action and get things done!
4. Make a plan to accomplish your goal. Unfortunately there’s no magic want to get you organized. You’ve got to have a plan. Read an organizing book…research organizing blogs on the internet (by the way, I hear the Get Simplifized blog rocks!)…dedicate time to study and practice organizing once a week or every day…or contact/hire a professional organizer to help and guide you along the way.
5. Put it on your calendar and hold yourself accountable. In line with #4 above, as you plan, I highly recommend setting aside time on your calendar to focus on your goal. You may decide that Tuesday evenings you’re going to spend 1-2 hours either reading about getting organized or physically organizing an area in your space. And when you block that time off, try your best not to get distracted by the phone, computer, television or family members. Remember the bigger picture here: This is your resolution…your goal…and there’s a reason you chose this as a new year’s resolution…and that’s probably because you’ve reached a breaking point and you need to get organized.
6. Make it a habit. Like going to the gym, in order to see real and lasting results you’ve got to make it a habit and commit to it. The same goes with organizing. It’s not a quick fix…it’s a lifestyle change. You don’t need to go big. Just take it one step at a time. They say it takes 21 days for an action to become a habit. Try committing to a habit for 21 days (like sorting and filing your mail every day) and soon it will become second nature. Then commit to trying another habit, like doing the dishes every night or laying out your clothes to wear the next day. Soon you’ll do it without thinking and better yet…you’ll start to notice a little more time on your hands…a little less stress in your life…a little more control.
7. Now reward yourself. As with any goal you set and achieve, be sure to reward yourself. Lose 15 pounds…buy a new pair of jeans. Organize your office…buy a book and spend the day relaxing. Let’s face it. Resolutions are things we’ve put off in the past because we dread them and have procrastinated on them. There’s a reason why you’ve got to kick yourself in the butt to get it done. Which makes it all the more motivating to accomplish them if you establish a nice reward for yourself.
So…are you ready to make that resolution a reality? Go ahead and commit to it. Make this year, not the year of failed or forgotten resolutions, but the year you made your resolutions come true!