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Getting Organized With Faltering New Year's Resolutions

Our organization columnist takes on the problem of organizing your time, not just your stuff.

We're halfway through February. Have you already thrown aside your New Year's resolutions? In my years as a professional organizer, so often my clients tell me how better they feel after getting organized. 

So, what does that have to do with keeping our New Year's Resolutions?  If you aren't organized, it's that much harder to keep your resolutions.  If you resolved to lose weight, but you haven't cook regularly, have a plan or have grocery lists, it probably hasn’t happened. The likelihood of you achieving your New Year's resolution dwindles the less organized you are, and if you don't have a plan of attack. 

So whatever your resolution is, being organized will help you achieve it. It's even easier if you only choose one resolution at a time. It’s also important to be honest with yourself: set the bar high enough for a challenge, but low enough that you don't drive yourself mad.   

Let's say you have resolved to start exercising this year. First you need to find a gym. But do you need childcare? Do you want to take classes? Do a little research to find the gym that fits your needs. Next, you need to look at your schedule and see where you can make the time to exercise. Just joining a gym doesn't make you exercise.  I actually heard about a gym recently that charges you if you don't go!

Figure out when you can realistically go and workout. Start with one hour one day per week and put it in your calendar.  Better yet, schedule a session with the personal trainer at the gym so you are held accountable or meet a friend there.  It helps to take a tour of the gym and/or meet with someone there to help you get started. 

Make a commitment to yourself to go the same day and time every week.  If you can, schedule some sessions with a personal trainer or make a weekly date with a friend.

Have a plan when you go. Maybe take 30 minutes to do some cardio and 30 minutes to lift some weights. Someone at the gym should be able to help you create a workout plan.  Once you start feeling better about working out at the gym, you might just be able to find more time in your schedule to go more often.

Make sure you have an actual goal. Saying you’re going to start exercising or working out isn’t a goal. You’ll need something a little more tangible,  and you’ll feel a better sense of success when you reach it. Maybe your goal is to lose weight (pick a number), maybe it's to go to the gym three days per week. Whatever it is, write it down and tell as many people as you can about it.   

One of my resolutions this year is to eat healthier. Being organized has helped a lot here. So far, I’ve created a list of the foods and meals my family eats regularly. Then, I ask myself, how can it be made healthier? Is there a veggie at every meal? Are all of the food groups represented?  I'm trying to create a monthly meal plan, putting the “regular” dishes we eat on random days and coming up with new things to try on other days. Then, each month I have a new fruit or vegetable to introduce and maybe even a side dish. With my meals already decided this helps me create my shopping lists. A shopping list is a very important tool for my family to eat healthier. Get what's on your list for that week (or month, however you shop), and stick to it!   

Create a calendar for your meals - not only will you have all of the ingredients you need for the month, but you won't have to wonder what's for dinner.

It's amazing at how being organized doesn't always have to do with your “stuff” but your time and how you plan things as well. 

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