Many people start the new year by making resolutions. Resolutions that are kept and actively followed for a weeks, months – if they are lucky. There are more than one way to keep these going further.
I’ve made it known that I don’t necessarily say I make resolutions. I set goals for the year and hope to meet some of them. The reality might be that I don’t do the exact items on my list, but I do get things done. For me, it’s important to set 10 things to achieve or I’d be that person who floated through life.
Of course, I say they I’d float but then I’d get bored and have to do something.
With all that said, don’t think I get what I truly want to accomplish finished every time. So what am I doing this year to change and make this the year of action?
Here are the 5 ways we can all get through this year and have wonderful tales to tell by the end of the year.
1. Organize Your Space
Take a day and clean. Top to bottom of your space, leave no area unturned.
Start in the morning with a good breakfast. Of course, clean up after yourself. Do the dishes. Sort through the pantry and kitchen. Tidy and organize the pantry. Take stock to what you have and what should be used. Throw out anything that is old or past due. Wipe and clean all the appliances and counters. Wash the floor.
Move through each room. Put things away where they belong. Find a home for small objects. Create folders for paperwork and sort it out. You get the idea, clean everything from top to bottom.
As you clean and organize you will likely find things that have been neglected – people you were supposed to phone, details you forgot to take care of, and items you had misplaced. Make sure to put these aside in a special location (or IN box).
You might find that you need containers, folders, or labels. Make a list. Make one trip to the store. I suggest going midday.
Then come home and make sure to get back to the cleaning and organizing. Finishing putting things away and filing papers appropriately.
2. Tour Your Space
Now, that the rooms of your space are tidy and organized; things are put away and labeled for ease of use later, it’s time to figure out what needs to be done.
All you need is paper and pen.
Remember that special location of things? Start there. I suggest a checkbox list. Make a small box on the paper and add each thing that needs to be done. Each item gets a line of it’s own. If there are additional steps be sure to write them too by indenting below the initial list subject.
Add every little thing.
Box: Phone Bank
Box: Ask about Savings account
Box: Ask about Investments
After you sort through the special location of items. It’s time to go around the house one room at a time. Add items to the list of things that need doing throughout the year. For example, put up the shelf or picture; clean the silver; or, wash the windows. Whatever it is. All the little things that you have put off or forgotten about.
This is the list that you will use to help you get everything done. Starting in January add a couple of these little things to a calendar. Be sure to think about ease of completion. If you’re like me and live in a snowy region of the world, then washing the windows in January isn’t the best idea.
Try however to get them done as early in the year as possible. By finishing all the little things you’ve been putting off is a great way to get yourself on the path to completing bigger things throughout the year.
3. Choose Goals Wisely
Before you make decisions about when and what you will accomplish this year, it’s important to things about things you have wanted to do but been putting off.
Have you wanted to take lessons to learn something new? Have you wanted to go back to school? Have you wanted to travel somewhere in particular? Have you wanted to write your memoirs? Have you wanted to join a group?
What is it you want to do?
Make sure to choose something that you can complete. Make sure you research ways to complete it.
Think about organizations that exist that can help you. Reach out to them and see when they meet. Schedule or join.
If it is a scheduled group or organization that will help you to make sure you have time designated for the activity. If there is no group or organization because it’s a personal goal then it’s important to decide when you will focus on this goal. You might even want to think about a special place location. For example, if you want to write, go to Starbucks every Wednesday for a couple hours.
More than anything, if you’re like me, you need to find some way to hold yourself accountable to the results. Tell people what you are doing. Reach out for help with someone who wants to do the same thing. Keep track through social media.
Take your goal and create a plan. What are the littlest steps you need to do to complete the larger task? Create mini deadlines to keep yourself on track. Then add these to your calendar that holds your other tasks.
Be sure to remember not to overbook yourself. Things always take longer than you expect. And life can happen, so keep days light but productive to ensure you can stick to your plan.
4. Reward Yourself
Choose something you want for yourself. Last year, I bought camping gear throughout the year as I accomplished my tasks list/calendar. I now have cookware, tools, hammock, and flashlights to add to my camping paraphernalia. This year I’m doing a house reno. So, my rewards will be housewares. I’m starting with my kitchen. The purchases will be cookware that I need to ensure I can eat healthy (a future 5 Ways post). I bought myself a vegetable steamer to get going, but primarily because I made a conscious change in December and was successful with the beginning plan.
A few helpful hints about rewards.
- Choose things you can use, but not things you desperately need. If you choose something you need you’ll buy it whether you succeed or not.
- Choose things you can get throughout the year. If you choose something in January because it’s on sale or think about a TV for November or even tickets to concerts/sports, you’ll buy them regardless of success.
- Choose things based on utility or hobbies. Grow your camping gear, your kitchen cookware, your toolkit, etc. By choosing an area that you enjoy you’ll be more apt to focus on the success to get there. Not to mention you can likely add something else to your plan to make this a great year.
- Choose things and make a list/plan. What will you get in what order?
Rewards are great. They don’t have to be expensive. Little things can go a long way to help you get where you want to be.
If you aren’t successful in one month. Don’t buy the item. But don’t get discouraged either. Sometimes we fall behind. Remember life happens. All you need to do is pick up where you left off whenever you realize you need to refocus or accountable-someone reminds you.
Also, keep in mind that sometimes the windows don’t get washed but the yard did get mowed and racked. Substituting a task from the calendar because it makes sense to complete at a different time is ok. Remember you’re still accomplishing tasks – big or small.
5. Know Your Expectations
This particular concern is one I’ve already mentioned. Know yourself.
What are your obstacles? What will eat away at your time? What pitfalls will happen to derail your plan?
If you are honest with yourself and look for these little trouble areas, you can succeed. If you know that you are a strong starter then put difficult tasks at the beginning. If you are a person who will lose momentum by February then put something in place to get you past the hurdle – tell someone, create a doable task with a firm deadline of February (something with consequences). If you are someone who struggles with the finer details and gets overwhelmed by the big picture then seek out a friend or colleague who is a logical thinker and strategically plan with them.
There are ways to ensure you can meet all the goals of this year.
Remember that time is your friend as long as you think about the transitional times. Lots of people think: ‘I’ll go to the gym for an hour every day.’ But then forget that it will also take 20 minutes to commute each way and 20 minutes to get ready and shower afterward. Now going to the gym is 2 hours and no longer feasible based on the hours it takes out of the day that were not planned for. Make sure you take all things into consideration. By planning less every day, but doing something every day you can meet the goals sooner without getting discouraged.
With the goals chosen, the calendar set, the rewards in line, and the accountability fixed, you are on your way to success!