Get Organized in 2018: 5 steps to creating a more compassionate New Year resolution

Tis the season of new beginnings and guilt-ridden resolutions!  This time of year has brought me plenty of phone calls and emails regarding one popular resolution: Getting organized.  

January is, after all, Get Organized Month.  What's a better time?  The holidays are over, the kids are going back to school, and in my part of the country, it's too cold to do anything else.  Those I am usually speaking with have made this resolution before.  Grand expectations of creating a home Pinterest-worthy are abandoned in February when they realize that their family isn't cut out to live in a Martha Stewart world.  

That is the problem with most resolutions.  They're too vague, too ambitious, and not customized to how our lives will unfold in the coming year.  We see something we want, like an organized house, a fit person at the gym, or a fancy car, and we say, ”I want to have that." without ever considering if "that" is right for our life.  

If getting organized is your New Year resolution, here are 5 steps to building a more compassionate resolution that will give you a greater chance of success:

1. Start small.  Small, personal changes have a snowball effect.  If you routinely misplace your keys, address that problem without feeling like you have to tackle every disorganized corner of your house.  The smallest pieces can be the most important part of the puzzle.  

2. Think of others.  We don’t often think of our abundance of clutter as someone else’s lack of necessities.  Instead of making a big pile of Goodwill donations in the corner of the garage, make more frequent and more impactful donations throughout the year to smaller community non-profits.  I can’t think of a better incentive for reducing the clutter.  

3. Put down the social media.  Stop comparing your kitchen to Suzy Homemaker’s kitchen.  It probably took her an hour to take that photo so the lighting was just right and the clutter was out of sight.  Her family doesn’t live that way and neither does yours.  

4. Forgive yourself.  You said you were going to get organized, but you feel like you're more of a mess than you were last year.  Life got in the way and that’s ok.  It doesn’t mean your doomed to a life of clutter.  It just means you are human.  

5. Keep trying.  Keep making small improvements in February, March, or even August!  There is no rule that says you can only achieve an organized life on January 1st!  If you get discouraged and don't know what to do next, do not hesitate to contact a NAPO Productivity and Organizing Professional in your area.  

Happy New Year and Happy Organizing!

Aimee Olson of Life Done Simply is a member of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO)