One of the best ways to make the most of 2017 is to organize your life, by setting specific goals, discarding the refuse of the old and making way for new, life-enhancing habits. Having a New Year’s resolution is usually what people do to try and shake up their lives, but statistics show that resolutions aren’t very successful by themselves. One month after making their resolutions, 41% of people have already failed, (do you know someone who’s already given up?) and by the end of the year, only 9.2% believe that they succeeded.
To get true, lasting change for 2017, it’s important to have a solid plan to organize your life. Here are some ways to organize your life that you should start immediately!
1. Set Clear-cut, Reasonable Goals
One of the problems with New Year’s resolutions is that they’re often too broad and ambitious right off the bat. Resolutions like “Get in shape” or “look amazing” are nebulous and subjective, and achieving results will take a long time without any progress metrics. To remedy this, you should have specific goals to achieve. For example, “get in shape” could be “Run a 10K by the end of the year” instead. Suddenly, you have something that you can measure and achieve, and you’ll get that sense of accomplishment when you finally get there.
Another thing you can do is to have reasonable micro-goals with constant deadlines. Setting a weight loss goal that looks like “Lose 30 pounds by April” isn’t just dangerous, it’s also nearly impossible to achieve, and when you inevitably fail at the task, you may very well just give up on weight loss altogether. Manage your expectations and set doable goals that you actually can reach. Then, break down your main goal into a series of micro-goals that provide clear milestones along the path to your main objective. For example, instead of just setting a manageable weight loss goal of “Lose 10 pounds by March,” you can shake things up and replace it with “Lose 1 pound per week.” Micro-goals will keep your eye on the prize and ensure that you always have that feeling that you’re winning.
Finally, while you should set reasonable goals, you also shouldn’t set goals that are just easy to achieve, just for the sake of change. Always pick resolutions that come with goals that are important to you. Your sense of achievement will be far more meaningful that way.
By sticking to these methods of goal-setting, not just in resolutions but in your daily life and whatever you need to accomplish, you’ll already have gotten started on the road to organizing your life.
2. Minimize Your Life and Keep Only What is Meaningful and Productive
Now that you know how to set goals and achieve them, it’s time to apply that knowledge to decluttering your life and keeping only what is needed. One of the most basic things to organize is your own home, but it can appear like an insurmountable task to fix up your entire house. Instead, break things down into micro-goals. Start by committing to cleaning up just one room at a time, and then spend a certain amount of time every day cleaning up one side of it – as little as 10 minutes is enough to make an impact!
What does decluttering entail? You’ll want to first apply a principle of getting rid of clutter. Look at all the old paper documents you have lying around, like bills, letters, and other documents that are no longer needed. Determine which are important to you for recordkeeping and store these in a safe place, organized by date. Otherwise, discard them. After that, follow the 20-20 and 90-90 rules and apply them to every item you see: If you have something that hasn’t been used in 90 days, or won’t be used in the next 90 days, eliminate it. Then, if you have something that isn’t in use but you’re holding onto just in case, determine if you can replace the item for $20 or less, in less than 20 minutes. If the answer is “Yes” to both, then discard it too.
Another approach to decluttering and minimizing your life is the KonMari method. Created by author and professional organizer Marie Kondo, the intent of KonMari is to reduce the clutter in your life by only keeping what “sparks joy” in you. Physically hold any item that you’re on the fence about keeping or discarding; while regarding your possession, ask yourself if the item “sparks joy” in you. If the answer is no, then discard it. Other elements of the KonMari method include visualizing your ideal lifestyle after decluttering, allocating enough time to complete your decluttering project and not just a single part, and throwing everything that needs to be thrown before you start returning things to their proper places. After you’ve finished your decluttering with KonMari, you’ll learn to live in the present with what you have and not dwell in the past, and anything you buy in the future will be more well-thought-out.
3. Prepare New Routines and Start Them Immediately
With your life decluttered, it’s time to create new routines. Establish a new daily morning workout for yourself that’s great for warming your body, boosting your metabolism, and giving you energy for the day, on top of all the obvious fitness benefits that daily exercise entails. Make it a point to read every day, a great habit and routine that can reduce stress, help you avoid degenerative diseases later in life, and improve your cognitive abilities overall.
Whatever you do, whatever routine you choose, make it a point to start immediately. Don’t delay things just because the year has just started. Once you start, learn to commit. Set reminders and reward yourself. Commit to these changes, and you’ll be on the road to new habits for 2017 that won’t go away.