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Six Steps to Resolutions That Last!

The media are full of ways to help you be better and do more in 2013. If you approach change from a realistic standpoint you are indeed poised to make improvements in your life. There is a hypnotic hold or comfort to the same old/same old that can keep us in circumstances we have long outgrown. If it were easy to change there would be no smokers, no one with a few pounds to lose, on one in a bad relationship or anyone in need of a fitness program.  To help streamline your journey this month I’ve come up with six steps that should carry you over the finish line.

  1. The Whole Enchilada

Make a list of all the resolutions you’d like to make this year.  Leave nothing out. You aren’t going to share this with another soul so feel free to let everything pour out onto the paper. When you’re done walk away from your list for a few hours.

  1. Order of Importance

When you do return pretend you are looking at the list of a dear friend who has asked you for advice.  Do you think the list is too long or has your friend not challenged himself enough?  Are some of these resolutions tired old ideas that get trotted out each January? Perhaps it’s OK if some items are officially retired forever.  Perhaps a few should wait a few months until after more important ones have been accomplished?

Now look at the list with a critical eye. Place your resolutions in order of importance. If you need to lose weight, stop smoking and get fit you don’t want to tackle them simultaneously.  Creating a situation that overwhelms us is a great way to be certain that nothing will change! Build on your successes. Empower yourself. And remember that an organized environment will make anything you tackle easier to achieve so that might be the first Resolution on your list. If you want to dive in and leave no area of your home or life untouched this year One Year to an Organized Life would be ideal for you and if you just want to pick up some basic pointers I’d suggest The 8 Minute Organizer.

  1. Break It Down

Let’s say you did some emotional eating this holiday season and now you have 10 pounds to lose, You know you need to eat less and move more, right? It would help you to do a little research about which diet out there is going to work for you. I know too many people who think skipping meals is the way to go.  Do you have any friends who have been successful at losing weight?  Talk to them about how they lost those pounds and kept them off.  Perhaps you admire a celebrity who has lost weight using a particular system?  Follow her lead.  You’ve got to be eating food you enjoy and eating in a way you can maintain for the rest of your life. Take the same approach with exercise.  Find something you enjoy doing that can become a part of your life.  I’ve chosen the most popular of goals because they are so intertwined but you can break any Resolution into the steps that will move it from wish to reality.

  1. How Much Do I Want It?

It’s one thing to want something; it’s another to be willing to work to achieve your goal.  If you start your research and think to yourself ‘Now is not the time to try’ then so be it. I’d rather postpone a big goal until I was ready than set myself up to fail with a dozen half hearted attempts. It’s therefore time to re-examine your list and see if there’s a new order to be created. If you only embrace one Resolution but dive in with determination, resolve and understanding there’s no telling what might happen in June.  Who said you can only make Resolutions in January?

  1. Grab your Calendar!

A calendar is an invaluable tool.  It helps you map your day-to-day journey.  It helps you literally see if that journey is leading you to the ultimate fulfillment of your dreams. It enables you to balance out work and play time and never overwhelm yourself. Journalists always ask me which is the best calendar system to use: paper, app or computer? I tell then the best calendar to have is the one you’re going to use! It should be fun and functional.

It’s time to look at the steps you need to take to fulfill your goals and start scheduling activities.  If you’re going to the gym three days a week then schedule those visits on your calendar.  If you have to start cooking real meals instead of heating up take-out schedule your shopping trips and cooking time. This step moves you from wishful thinking  into the world of reality.

  1. Think Outside the Resolution Box

Some of the most fun, productive and fulfilling Resolutions don’t get a lot of press this time of year.  We’re all busy losing weight and joining the gym.  Here are some ideas for Resolutions that take awareness but no planning.

  • Resolve to practice random acts of kindness every day.
  • Sign up for volunteer work with a cause dear to your heart
  • Get to know your neighbors.
  • Add prayer to your life
  • Tackle one new habit every month that improves the quality of your life.  Here are my favorites: make your bed every day; drink more water; put your keys (remote or glasses) in the same spot; check the trash containers daily and empty as needed and investigate something designed to relieve stress like meditation.
  • Get up 15 minutes earlier every day and center yourself.  A day that begins with frantic energy is off to a bad start.
  • Learn one new word a day.

How can you serve?

We tend to make Resolutions to better ourselves but what if this became the year we widened our scope and decided to better our family, our neighborhood and our planet? Being organized save time, money and energy and it allows you to direct your resources to do good rather than fritter them away searching for those forever lost house keys. Somewhere in your community there’s a suffering child, parent or homeless person.  Clean out your closet and donate those items now languishing in your closets and drawers to those who need them.  Take that bag of pens, pencils, sharpies and highlighters you know you aren’t going to use and drop them off at a day care center.  See if your broken kitchen, office and garden equipment can be fixed by Goodwill.  Are you keeping your old violin from high school for memories? Take a photo of it for your family album and donate the actual violin to a high school for the performing arts. There’s so much good in your life that’s waiting for a new purpose. Set it free.  You’ll be liberated in the process.

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Regina Leeds
‘The Zen Organizer’

Regina Leeds is a New York Times Best Selling Author, Professional Organizer. Get more home organization tips from Closet Factory’s exclusive home organization guides

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