If you experienced what I did during the last two weeks of 2021, you probably had a social media feed full of friends showing off their plans to declutter, get organized, be healthier, and everything they were setting out to do in the New Year.
Well, here it is February, and I bet a lot of those same friends have fallen off their wagons and are right back to where they started.
It can feel overwhelming when we’re faced with a New Year - we’re marketed to in a way that makes us believe that if we’re not overhauling our lives in some way, we’re not fully taking advantage of this fresh clean slate that the date change brings us.
While it’s exciting to think about making change, decluttering, and getting organized, it can also be stress-inducing to feel like you have to do it all at once.
In this blog, I want to share how to create more lasting change by developing routines that add in new things in a manageable way.
I share this with every organization client when it comes to their decluttering efforts, and it applies to just about any new routine you want to add into your life too!
Let Go of Perfectionism
First and foremost, we need to start by dropping the perfectionistic tendencies that lead to the all-or-nothing mindset in the first place. In reality, it’s not all or nothing, every little bit counts!
- Every article of clothing you donate to Goodwill and empty from your closet makes a difference
- Every junk drawer you clean out makes a dent in the big picture
- And every email you delete, respond to, or file is part of the equation!
Give yourself grace knowing you’re human and not perfect. You can start right where you are, and it might be messy at first! It’s OK. You can refine and tweak as you go.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was the ideal morning routine or a fully decluttered space. It’s all about starting small and taking baby steps to get to your ideal goal or desired outcome.
When it comes to creating a morning routine and habits that stick and feel good to you, you might start by adding in one additional piece of the routine and trying it for two weeks (or more!). For example, journaling. After you’ve been journaling consistently for two weeks, you might add in another element like meditation, or exercise, or reading. You can’t expect to create a 10-part routine, implement it overnight, and be able to stick to it. We tend to give up when we feel too overwhelmed, and adding in too much too fast is the quickest way to overwhelm.
If your desired outcome is a decluttered office, start with one corner of the room at a time. One shelf at a time, one drawer, one file folder. Don’t set yourself up for failure by attempting to tackle the entire project in a day and then beating yourself up when you didn’t have the energy to complete it.
Do what you can, when you can, and don’t put so much pressure on yourself to have it all done at once.
Be Prepared and Be Consistent
Lay out your plan and give yourself the tools you need to be consistent. When you head into a situation prepared, you will fare much better. For example, if you’re trying to create a new routine of running but you hate all your workout shorts and aren’t particularly fond of your sneakers, it’s going to be harder to get out the door every day.
If you are starting on a decluttering project, you want to make sure you have everything you need heading in - a garbage bag, boxes, a working vacuum cleaner, and who knows… depending on your situation, maybe even your hazmat suit!
Make sure you have the pieces before you start.
Be consistent and do a little bit at the same time each day. What time of day do you feel most energized and able to take on a task like this? Aim for the same time every day so you’re more likely to keep it up and stick with it.
Make it FUN!
It can be fun and inspiring to envision the possibilities and get excited about life on the other side (especially when you see those friends posting about all the progress they’ve made!). Let yourself dream! Build your plan around what you most want and need. Prioritize it to achieve the things you’re most excited about, and that will give you some quick wins first.
For example, if there are too many shoes by the door that are causing you daily stress by looking dirty and cluttering up your space, start there. Give yourself a quick, easy win that helps you stay excited to tackle what’s next!
Congratulate, celebrate, and reward yourself! Set out a plan for how you want to cheer yourself on each time you accomplish a milestone! A day of reading and relaxing, a yummy treat, or a glass of wine, what is it for you that will help keep you motivated and having fun along the way?
Some of my clients also like to track their progress to help keep themselves inspired. You can use a regular old notebook or planner, or get fancy with a whiteboard or spreadsheet. Whatever works for you. Tracking your progress can help to keep you going because you don’t want to break your streak or a record you have!
Another way to make it fun is to find an accountability buddy or group who’s committed to the new routines that you are! This is some of what we do in my membership program to help one another succeed. Having a community around you is also great for sharing tips, resources, and asking questions when you get stuck or feel unmotivated!
Want to learn more about my Declutter and Get Organized Resource Hub Group? We help you to get started and give you the accountability and support you need to focus on making lasting change in YOUR life! Click HERE to learn more.