One year ago I made a goal to get organized in 2018. Good intentions don’t always lead to productive results, so my ambitious New Year’s idea of conquering my lifelong disorganization didn’t quite pan out. Twelve calendar pages have come and gone, and I’m microscopically closer to that goal.
As I begin a new calendar this year, I’m once again setting a goal to organize my life. But this time I need more than just good intentions to convert my scatterbrained lifestyle into order. I need a plan.
As I dust off old goals from last year, I’m using the following tips. They may help as you look into the new year and think of how you will reach your goals.
Break your goal into smaller portions.
We like to dream big, but big dreams are hard to turn into reality. My goal of getting organized covers a lot of area. Where do I start? What areas of my life need organization? So I made a list and picked one area to focus on during January. Then I determined what my next steps would be. I can’t become completely organized in the next two weeks, but I can complete step one: “Clean everything out from under my bed.”
Once you choose a goal, dissect it into bite-sized pieces and turn that lofty, distant goal into reachable steps.
Find someone to remind you of your goal.
When our goals are private and our deadlines self-imposed, it is easy to procrastinate. Choosing a friend or family member to periodically ask about our goal builds motivation. Our goals and personal deadlines are no longer secret — someone else will know if we totally drop the ball.
When I was little, rewards came as sticker charts and treat jars, but the principle still holds true for our adult selves: Rewards work. When you accomplish one step toward your goal, splurge on something you want. Have a scoop of cookie dough ice cream (you earned this, so no guilt) or invite friends over for a movie night.
Write out the reasons for your goal.
Someone once said, “Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” For me, being organized means being prepared for commitments and never having to re-buy lost Christmas gifts (like I did last year). On less motivated days, reminding ourselves why we chose our goal to begin with goes a long way in keeping us focused on what we want most.
Several months ago I moved, which threw a kink into my organization plans. You may have some surprises at work or in your personal life that interfere with your fitness goal or your cooking-from-scratch goal. None of your goals are written in stone, and no lives will be forever ruined if you need to tweak your plans a bit. It’s OK to adapt your goals to fit your changing reality.
Progress is progress
At the beginning of the year we often have hopes for how different we will be in 52 weeks, and we are convinced that with a little planning and self-discipline we might accomplish everything on our list a month early. But we will not meet every goal. If we did, then we didn’t aim high enough.
Goals are meant to challenge us, and sometimes the progress we make — even if it feels like we’ve fallen short — is more than enough. We went farther than last time. We grew, learned, experienced and tried something new.
Twelve months from now I won’t be an organizational expert, but I plan on making progress toward being more organized — and eating some ice cream along the way.
Copyright 2019 Lauren Dunn. All rights reserved.