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The clean slate of the new year

What is it about a new year that makes it seem so full of promise? Maybe it’s that so many of us reflect and take stock at year’s end. Or perhaps it’s the end of the holiday season that makes us ready to focus on new things. Maybe it’s as simple as the thrill of cracking open a fresh new calendar.

Whatever it is, the start of a new year can be a great opportunity to set our sights on new adventures, new horizons and new organizing goals.

Did you notice that I didn’t use the R word, Resolutions? I think so many of us have a history of failed New Year’s resolutions that the word itself smacks of failure. Instead of thinking about organizing resolutions for the new year, I encourage you to instead think about organizing goals for 2012 or perhaps new habits and routines you’d like to incorporate into your life this year.

When you’re thinking about adding beneficial new habits, think about ones that:

  • Will make your life easier
  • Can be done daily (it’s easier to remember a daily habit)
  • Can be incorporated into an already existing routine

The secret to making habits stick is to link them together to create routines. You already have routines, I promise. If you take a moment to write down what you’re already doing on a daily basis (a good place to start is what you do when you first get up in the morning and before you go to bed at night), your routines will emerge. Take a look at them and see if you can identify places where you can add a new habit. Linking new habits with existing routines can really increase your chances of making the new habits stick.

If you’ve tried in the past to adopt a new organizing habit that ended up falling by the wayside, you may think that habit is a lost cause. But that’s not true. Refocus your efforts and link the habit to an engrained one. Add extra punch by giving yourself some accountability. Tell a family member or friend what your plans are. And, if your friend is game, report back every day when you’ve done it.

This year I’m trying to restart and strengthen some new habits I started in 2012 that didn’t completely stick. Instead of thinking of those as failed habits, I’m looking toward the new year as an opportunity to start afresh with a clean slate.

Janine Adams is a messy professional organizer who loves helping others create order. The co-founder of Declutter Happy Hour, she believes in having as much fun as possible in the organizing process. Check out her web site at Peace of Mind Organizing!

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