It’s that time of year again. The clock strikes 12 and there is cheering, celebrating, and champagne. The slate is wiped clean and all can begin anew. Promises are made, at this magical midnight hour; we will turn into pumpkins if certain changes are not made. No – this is not the story of Cinderella; it’s time for those yearly traditions called New Year’s resolutions. Most are willing to wait at least until the Monday after the holiday – when all the leftovers are gone – to begin these life-altering changes. The two most popular resolutions are “I’m going to lose weight” and “I’m going to get organized”. Do you recognize these promises? Are they the same resolutions you had last year? What will you do differently this year to bring these dreams into reality?
The answer to that question can be answered in a few words: goals, planning, and action. Abe Lincoln once said that if he had 10 hours to cut down a tree he would spend 7 of those hours sharpening the saw. Why is that? Because he was planning. The sharper the saw, the less time it will take to cut down the tree. The more time you spend planning your goals the more effective, efficient and productive you will be.
So let’s combine the two most popular New Year’s resolutions and see how they can work together. If you want to lose a few pounds, the first thing you need to do is set a realistic goal. Next decide what type of food plan you want to follow. Then write out your menu for the next week. Yes, that means every meal on every day. Know what healthy food choices you intend to eat and (this is very important) how much you plan to eat: example: lunch – 4 oz. of chicken, 1 medium size apple, 2 cups salad. Writing every item down gives you the opportunity to balance the food groups, count calories, add up your “points”, etc. making sure it meets the criteria for whatever program you are following. Now make a shopping list based on your written menu plan. If you make a list at home before shopping you have the opportunity to look in your refrigerator, cabinets, and pantry to see what food and supplies you need to buy. When you arrive at the store you know what you need and you can shop faster. This will help lessen the chance of impulse shopping and “just in case” buying.
Of course, you don’t need to be on a diet to use the system for grocery shopping. My client began planning meals in advance and shopping from a list and saved $30 a week on her food bill, which is $120 a month or $1,560 a year. Planning save us time, money, energy, and calories.
Now that you have planned and organized your food for the New Year, start to set goals in other areas of your life that you would like to organize. Remember to always write out your goals and be very specific – example: organize clothes closet by end of February, spend 3 hours a week de-cluttering paperwork, and take a time management class. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
- Throw away all unread magazines and newspapers with last year’s date
- Toss all old catalogs, new ones are on the way for the new year
- Discard all junk mail daily
So here is a Professional Organizer’s New Year’s Blessing for you:
May your wastebaskets be filled,
May your “in bin” be empty,
May you return all your phone calls,
May you lose all the pounds you desire to and,
May you gain peace of mind through organizing
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