• Samantha Hebert

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. 11 tips for fail-proofing your New Year’s resolution

I hate New Year's resolutions, they never last. But we all know the typical scenario, the gym is packed and your favorite workout guru on TV is telling you that no one is ever going to get fat eating broccoli. Well that's great, but who wants to do that? We have all been bombarded with articles and lists of New Year's resolutions, heck even Pope Francis made a list for us to follow. And I was totally offended when Amazon sent me an email full of workout products, what the heck? How does Amazon know I’m fat? Grrrr!

The truth is, New Year's resolutions have an 88% failure rate. Why Why Why do we set ourselves up for this kind of failure? So here’s my solution, only make ONE resolution and I propose it to be to DECLUTTER YOUR HOME. Now I know what you’re saying, oh geez not the D word again. We’ve all seen the decluttering challenges: 40 Bags In 40 Days, 365 Days of Decluttering, 200 Things To Throw Away Today, etc. But seriously, it is annually on the top 10 list of resolutions for a reason! Clutter affects our mental health and that’s enough of a reason to want to do it. If we are not mentally well then we are not able to help anyone else. I always find it interesting when I read articles written by experts and counselors that offer decluttering an area of your home as a solution for your depression, your loss of a love one, anxiety, or any other reason why you just may not be feeling like yourself.

With this resolution there must be a plan. Just like before you go to the grocery store, you make a list. Not only does this help avoid filling your cart with a bunch of junk, it also helps you focus enough to speed up the process. Right? To be the successful 12% you must clearly define your intention to improve your success rate. You also need to document your progress, however you keep up with what you have accomplished. Goals give you the gift of focus. You have to have goals! Not 55 of them, but a few big, important ones. Now let’s not take hours to plan, this does not have to be hard or time-consuming but I don’t want you to wander an ultimately unsatisfying path back to exactly where you are right now. One of my favorite sayings is “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

So, lets get started! I cannot make your goals for you but I can give you some rules to follow to ensure you success:

  1. Ask yourself why you WANT to, or NEED to, hold on to these items: are you a collector of old kid's projects, porcelian pigs, shoes? Is it sentimental? Is it important? Does it add any value to your life? Does it belong here? Like every journey, the quest for an organized home begins with the first step.

  2. Set up a “repair basket” in the garage and make an effort to get these items fixed, once the item has been in the basket for longer than 6 months, chances are it will never be repaired - Toss It!

  3. Put yourself on an organizing timer: 20 minutes to 1 hour per area. That’s it! Hey, we’ve got lives to live!

  4. When tackling an area, use these 5 piles: Keep, Donate/Sell, Discard, Repair, goes elsewhere in the house.

  5. Throw away 50 unused, unwanted or broken items in a week. Start in one area and do your best to rid yourself of unused stuff that’s taking up space.

  6. Break your goals down into micro-goals. Instead of saying, “today, I'm going to organize the garage!” say “today, I'm going to organize these two garage shelves or “I’m going to sort the vanity drawer.” Attacking the problem in smaller chunks allows you to feel the progress, and will motivate you. This is key! As women we have to do it all – right now! NOT! Little chunks ladies!

  7. Keep originals of deeds, mortgages, insurance, etc. in a safe place. Toss all the extras, envelopes and bill stuffers that come with bills.

  8. Eliminate items in one area at a time. Scan and can, start small, create a go-back basket so you don’t get distracted.

  9. Join forces with friends and family. Let them know your goals. Have your BFF come over to help purge your closet (over a glass of wine of course). There is “strength in numbers” people!

  10. Tackle one goal at a time. We are not suppose to be multi-taskers but rather uni-taskers. We’re never really doing task simultaneously. But rather our brain is forced to switch tasks quickly which ultimately distracts us from efficiency. Focus on checking off one box at a time.

  11. Treat yourself. Just make sure you don’t overindulge or use your vice as a reward. You don’t want to slide back into the bad habits of before.

Procrastination, disorganization, and distraction aren't unchangeable personality traits. Their behavioral traps you fall into when you're uncertain about what to do next. These traps can be avoided with simple, repeatable strategies that you customize according to what works best for you.

Starting today we’ll be posting some staggering statistics to encourage you to declutter so check back often. We can’t guarantee it’ll be easy, but we can guarantee it’ll be worth it. Clearing all the excess from your home may take a little time, but it doesn’t need to be painful. Choose one area at a time, remembering to savor your success every step of the way. When you are finished, you will wonder what took you so long to get started. Let’s make sure that 2016 is your best year yet.


Samantha Hebert

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