How To

Six Ways to Keep Your Goals

I hope you enjoyed the holidays and you’re off to a great start this new year! A new year is an opportunity to reflect on the past and think about how you want to move forward. Are there any changes you’d like to make?

One change I’d like to make is having a more organized home. Is there a room in your house that you dread going into? For us, it was a spare bedroom we call the Craft Room. It might as well have been called The Dungeon because I felt dreadful every time I approached it. Putting one foot in the room made me want to immediately turn around and go the other way.

It was more of a storage room where we put all the stuff we plan on “doing something with someday” than a place where crafts were done. Even though I knew I needed to reduce the amount of stuff I had, I hated the thought of doing it.

Do you ever feel like that?

With the coming of the new year, you may have identified changes you want to make, but you’re having a hard time finding the motivation or discipline. Here are some things that worked for me and might help you as well.

Ponder Your Reason

Why do you want to make this change or goal? In other words, is it something you intrinsically want or is it something that will make you feel more valuable because of how others might perceive you?

Here are some intrinsically-motivated examples for organizing a room:

  • When my environment is organized, my mind follows.
  • Finding things easily and quickly will save me time.
  • I enjoy creating a more welcoming space for others.
  • I want to get rid of items that no longer serve a purpose.

You may think these types of thoughts when you want to organize a room to feel worthy based on others’ (potential) opinions of you:

  • With an organized room, people will think I’m a good housekeeper!
  • I can’t wait for them to see what an awesome job I did organizing this room! They could definitely take some pointers from me!

Another common New Year’s resolution is losing weight.

Intrinsically-motivated examples:

  • A healthy lifestyle will help me feel good and have more energy.
  • I want to improve my chances of seeing my grandchildren graduate high school and college.

Examples based on others’ opinions:

  • If I fit into my ideal size, men will find me attractive.
  • If I lose weight, I will fit in better with my friends.

Making progress on goals that are meaningful to you (the first category), increases your psychological well-being, which helps you feel happier.

Schedule It

Whether it’s going to the gym or cleaning out that scary cabinet (or room), the best thing to do is schedule time to do it. Write it in your calendar and block the time. Just like keeping a doctor’s appointment, the time is dedicated to the scheduled task.

We dedicated the first couple of days of January for cleaning out the Craft Room. The beginning of the year is a great time for indoor cleaning—the weather is usually not that great, the end-of-year festivities have ended and getting rid of things—especially old things that may bring up memories—can be a time of introspection—a way to look at the past, discard the things that no longer serve us and move forward with a fresher mind.

Luckily, we had below-average temperatures during this time, which made it easier to stick to the schedule and not get distracted going here and there. We hunkered down for three days straight and we got the room cleaned out! It’s amazing how much time you find when you don’t go anywhere and you have a plan and stick to it.

Find a Buddy

Is there a friend who motivates you to take action? Or someone who is skilled at the change you want to make? Find someone who supports you, or who has a similar goal and can join you.

I like being organized, but I sometimes find it difficult knowing how to organize random things. However, my hubby is pretty good at it. He came up with some great space-saving ideas (like turning my drawer full of random fabric samples into an organized system that takes up less than half the space).

Picture the Reward

You made this goal for a reason. Picture what happens when you achieve it. This is a great motivator whether you’re organizing a room, paying off debt, or exercising. No one got to the top of the mountain without taking the first few steps.

I pictured how I wanted my room to look to help me get rid of things I no longer enjoyed or that no longer served its purpose.

Take Baby Steps

Avoid overwhelm by focusing on the next step you need to take to reach your goal.

Instead of becoming overwhelmed by going through the entire room, I focused only on going through a small section of the room at a time and spread it out over three days. The first day we only spent and hour and a half, and the other days we took breaks when we needed to.

You may find taking baby steps is challenging for you. It was a contrast to how I usually work. I tend to focus on something until I’m done (sometimes even delaying eating), but I’m learning that sometimes getting a little closer to my goal each day without overexertion isn’t such a bad thing. As a bonus, I tend to be in a better mood when I’m not trying to cram four days of work into two days. 😉

Just Do It

Nike was right. At the end of the day, sometimes we just need to do it. The positive feelings that follow after taking the steps to accomplish a goal can propel us to keep moving forward.

Resources

Here are a couple of resources for writing and achieving your goals for 2018:

How to Conduct Your Own Annual Review by Chris Guillebeau

Goal Setting the Smart Way by Dave Ramsey

The Dungeon Becomes the Craft Room

Here’s a before and after look at the more organized and functional craft room.

Note: As you can see, I did not put effort into decorating. That would have taken more than 3 days. 😉

Craft Room Before
Craft Room: Before
Craft Room After
Craft Room: After

 

Feature photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

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