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Kathy Franzen

Is organizing your home on your list of “New Year’s Resolutions”?

Every year millions of us resolve to… lose weight, start exercising, eat healthier and Get Organized. Will this be the year that you actually follow through? I’ve seen it, and yes, I’ve done it. As the New Year approaches, we start thinking of how we are going to start fresh. The enthusiasm and excitement start to rise, a little motivation kicks in and we start making our plans for the New Year,  January 1… well, maybe January 2… Ok, maybe when the kids are back in school… Well, what’s wrong with waiting one more week? After all, the holidays were pretty stressful and we’ve got to be patient with ourselves and let things get back to normal before tackling a project to big.

Then it hits you like a punch in the stomach, the end of January is here and… what New Year’s Resolution?

Rather than just thinking about your New Year’s resolution, approach your goal as a significant project.

The first step is to identify one project. When you resolve to do too many things in the new year, you are already sabotaging your efforts. When you choose one thing, you will be able to focus on that goal, prioritize around that goal.

Another important step is to announce your goal. Tell someone, or several people, about your goal. This makes it more real and builds in some accountability. When you’ve told someone about your resolution, you’re more likely to keep your promises. It’s easy to make excuses to ourselves, but more difficult to disappoint your friends and family.

Now the hard work

Write your goal down in a notebook, or maybe even on the cover of the notebook, a pretty notebook, in Big, Bold, Beautiful letters. Writing your goal down, again, makes it more real. If you use a notebook that you are attracted to, you are more likely to use it. If the goal is written on the front cover, you will be consistently reminded of it.

In your new notebook, start breaking your goal out into tasks. Manageable, bite sized, tasks will prevent your project from becoming overwhelming to you. The tasks should be things that you can accomplish in a relatively short amount of time, or relatively easily. If you aren’t able to figure out how you are going to accomplish a task, you might want to spend a little more time breaking it down even further. If your tasks are too big to handle, or even too big to think about, you are much more likely to abandon it.

Then it gets kind of fun

Create a Resolution Board to help remind you of your resolution and why you made it. The board can be as big as you’d like it to be. Sometimes you might want something you can slip into your purse or bag to carry with you, sometimes you might want to post it on the bathroom mirror or a wall in your office. Use pictures, words, and colors; draw, clip and have fun.

Let this resolution board serve to remind you of why you are doing all this work and making this commitment.

Appointments?

Start converting those tasks into appointments. Yep, just like an appointment with the doctor or dentist. Schedule it on your calendar. You might even choose to use a special color to remind you how important it is. This is an appointment with and for yourself. There are no built in consequences of missing or cancelling your appointment, so you might want to create something that will work for you. I’ll talk about rewards and consequences in just a minute. We all know that things come up and schedules change and we are always prioritizing and reprioritizing as we go. I really want to stress the importance of rescheduling your appointment, rather than cancelling it in these situations.

Rewards and Consequences

This might actually be the key to making this work. Find some things that you really enjoy doing, but aren’t critical. Give them to yourself as a gift for getting your tasks completed. Some ideas are:

  1. Sitting with your feet up and finally reading that magazine.
  2. Giving an old friend a call.
  3. Taking a walk with your neighbor.
  4. Treating yourself to a manicure or pedicure.
  5. Going to the ice cream shop.
  6. Taking in a movie.

Take a few minutes to compile a list of all the gifts you can come up with, and add to it as you think of new ones. In parenthesis, next to your appointment, put your reward or gift as a reminder of why completing the task is worth it.

Here’s to your Success!

Keeping track of your ideas and your progress in your special notebook, and using all the tools identified in this article, will certainly help you to follow through with your New Year’s Resolution in 2011.

Kathy Franzen
Project Partners Organizing