Please enjoy this NAPO Austin guest blog
by Kate Martin, owner of Organized Joy.
It’s 6 months into the year and our New Year’s resolutions are mostly memories by now. In fact, according to statisticsbrain.com, last year only 9.2% of people “felt they were successful in achieving their resolution.” Goal setting, making to do lists, and planning projects are things we love to do. But why do only some people follow through all the way?
As Professional Organizers, we help people achieve goals that they cannot do on their own. Individuals and businesses hire us because it’s much easier to get a project done with more help. Especially help from someone without personal attachment to the project. Working with a team is one of the many secrets to better achieving the goals you set for yourself. So, let’s take a closer look at a few things you can do to make next year’s goals even more successful.
Some people don’t follow through on their resolutions because they’ve set the wrong ones. There are so many things we want to do and we want to do them now, of course. But taking a bit of extra time to really soul search is worth it. Set aside some free time and write down anything and everything you want to accomplish. Then pick your top 3 or 5 priorities to focus on this year. Save the rest for when you’ve accomplished your current goals, but keep in mind that they may change along the way.
Look at your past resolutions and determine if they were too big or too small for you to do. Say your goals out loud. Write up a pretend resume with your completed goals to see if it makes you feel proud and accomplished. Research the people you admire to see if your current goals align with who you want to be. Put aside old disappointments and focus on the possibilities of the next 6 months.
For each of your big goals, determine each and every step you need to take along the way. Get incredibly detailed with your steps and leave nothing out. People get tripped up when their goal is “organize the house” or “lose weight” so not much gets done. By breaking the goal up into bite sized pieces, it's much easier. Progress is better measured and small victories can be celebrated along the way.
If you ran into a stumbling block mid-January, recognize and accept it. However now you can analyze which step made you stumble. This time around you can ask for help, delegate certain tasks, or approach your goal in a new way.
Set The Date
Your new very detailed goal can seem daunting now that it’s gotten quite large. The secret to accomplishing these many parts is assigning dates to each thing you want to do. Let’s say one of your goals is to re-do a room in your home – paint the walls and move the furniture. Setting aside one weekend may get a lot of it done, but not all. A more successful goal timeline might look like this:
Thursday: List all room projects to do and supplies needed
Friday: Buy supplies and call friends to help out
Saturday: Order pizza, assign tasks to friends (move furniture, paint, clean up, put furniture back in place) and everyone starts working
Sunday: Buy additional supplies (another Home Depot trip as usual) and finish up tasks on your own (new artwork hung, new linens washed and put in room)
Monday: Return supplies not needed and drop off trash/donations
Tuesday: Have your best friend over to point out the things you didn’t see and finally finish your room.
Free Up Your Brain Space
People often get bogged down with daily tasks so they can’t find ample time for their big goals and projects. The more you can automate your daily items, the more you can devote to your big bold goals. If you use a paper planner, try writing in your entire year’s tasks now. Then you can see what chunks of time you have left to devote to your big goals.
If you use a digital calendar, create tasks that repeat every week, month, or year so you never forget the little things again. If you are a true techy, have Alexa, Siri, or Google remind you in a fun and frequent way (try getting Alexa to tell the kids it’s time for bed instead of you!).
Here are a few tasks to automate and remove from your brain:
Birthdays - sending cards or buying presents
Quarterly or yearly paperwork requirements like tax due dates
Changing AC filters
Rotating your mattresses
Purging your wardrobe seasonally
Checking fire extinguishers and smoke alarm batteries
Two Is Better Than One
Let’s go back to that first tip about how people hire Professional Organizers to help with their goals. It’s often much easier for someone who doesn’t live with you to help you because they see things you can’t. We sometimes move into our homes and place objects in random places thinking we’ll move them later. 5 years afterwards, that item has its home, for better or worse, and it’s up to a professional to ask why.
It’s the same way with goals, so ask someone else to be an accountability partner for you. Tell them your goals, explain your why (which might even surprise you), and state your dates. Check in regularly to keep up your progress and reward yourself along the way for sticking to your plan. Try also being an accountability partner for your friend and celebrate your success together.
You’ve got 6 more months until the end of the year. Plenty of time to add author or professional chef or artist to your repertoire. So, figure out your 2nd set of goals for the year and get going. There’s no time like now.