I’ve been in this business about 15 years now and every year in January I see the same thing. People get excited about change (decluttering, losing weight, cleaning up finances). You go full in, spending hours trying to take care of things using that New Year energy.
Then, you lose that motivation. It’s not exciting or you see another project that looks like it may be more fun. Usually the first parts of a project is easier and then you get to the hard part like decluttering sentimental items or the craft room.
Suddenly even though you had hours to devote to it before, you have no time. No energy. You skip one day. Then two. Soon, it’s not even on the radar anymore.
Now you are berating yourself about having no will-power and self-control. You tell yourself, “I knew it would never happen. I never stick to things.”
It’s great to use that New Year energy. It’s fantastic! But, it doesn’t last. It’s not that you can’t stick to things, it’s that you were relying on something that doesn’t last and isn’t sustainable.
You need to put structures and support in place when you have that energy, so you can continue down the line. Otherwise your Project Change doesn’t continue.
Prepare for the Hard
You need think about what happens when you hit the hard part. What if feelings of sadness or regret arise? What about the days when you have absolutely no motivation – what will you do?
What will you say to yourself when you enter the hard area?
Set Up Systems
Setting up systems allows you to just do it instead of deciding each time. You have a routine. You have your next actions written out. You have an actual plan.
You put out exercise clothes the night before or put fruit in a bowl on the table.
Every other Friday you pay bills and look at your finances. You set up an automatic savings plan.
We want to go it alone. We think we should be able to handle it ourselves. But, for the majority of people it works at least twice as well when you check in with other people.
I know I didn’t stick with decluttering until I started checking in with a group online.
Work with One or Two Changes
Most people don’t have the energy required to make many changes at the same time yet people operate that way all the time. How about this year, you work on one or two goals at once until the systems become habitual?
Once a change becomes a habit, it takes up less space in your brain so you can focus on something else. Allow yourself to reach the habit stage before running onto another change. This is hard and is where change often breaks down. You don’t give yourself that time to create a habit, because you give up after the first few mistakes or skips.
Don’t follow that next shiny object until you set that foundation.
If you want to set up a system for your decluttering and get major accountability, we’d love to have you join us in the next Declutter Group. You can make changes that stick.