This time of year, I usually see an uptick in new client inquiries as the New Year’s resolutions start forming and the excitement for change in the coming year escalates. We all hope to enter each year as a new and improved version of our previous year’s self. As we plant our feet firmly into the new year, reality usually sets in and we realize that conquering those resolutions is going to take more than hopeful thinking and feelings of motivation. Achieving those goals will also take discipline, change and diligence. These activities and changes also apply to the process of organizing. Organizing requires discipline.
Some of you probably stopped reading after that last sentence but hang on. Sure, some of us are inclined to being creative with storage solutions, and it helps when we also enjoy the process of getting organized. I have news for you though…even people who are well organized conjure up a bit of discipline to stay that way. The TV shows we see about getting organized and making over a home tend to show us the highlights; the results that make us feel good and suddenly empowered to take on our own projects. What they don’t show is the diligence, process and habit changing mindset that goes into maintaining those results.
If you have ever worked with me, you have likely heard me say that I wish I had a magic wand. I wish I could wave a wand over everyone’s disorganized situations and suddenly transform them to a state of forever organized and neat. I wish I could use that wand in my own house. I am very organized and love to put things back in their place, but if my husband and I have a busy week, and choose different priorities, clutter happens. The laundry piles up, just like everyone else. The dishwasher gets full and dishes overflow in the sink, just like everyone else. As a result, just like everyone else, we are left feeling stressed and disorganized.
So, what do we do about it? If you are thinking of throwing in the towel at this point and surrendering to an existence in a cluttered and messy household, hang in there. We CAN change and we CAN be organized! Cleaning up is often the easy part. Most of us are capable of picking things up off the floor and putting them back where they belong. The challenge is maintaining a state of constant tidiness during our busy lives. While changing our habits requires that we delve into a bit of science (more on that later), here are a few activities that you can start doing today that will help you to stay organized after the initial clean-up:
In his book “Atomic Habits” author James Clear defines the 4 stages of any habit as: 1) Cue – the trigger that tells the brain that a reward is in proximity, 2) Craving – the perceived change in state that will be delivered by following the cue, 3) Response – the action needed by you to receive the reward, and 4) the Reward itself. According to his philosophy, we get stuck in this “habit loop” that perpetuates our actions unless we remove one of the 4 stages. His simple suggestion is to break old habits by removing one of these stages; by making the cue and reward less desirable, harder to reach or invisible altogether. He goes on to say that we can then create new habits by asking ourselves these 4 questions:
If you want to geek out on this further like I did, check out his entire excerpt online at https://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change. If you need some real change this year and are not sure where to start, give me a call and we can approach this process together! Happy New Year!