January 8, 2013

Planning + Mini-Goals = New Year's Resolution Success

In my last post, guest blogger Audrey Cupo of a A Better Space encouraged you to evaluate the past and plan for the future.

Well, the future is here. Did you make any resolutions for the next twelve months?

According to the people at StatisticBrain.com, the top ten New Year's resolutions for 2013 are:

1. Lose Weight
2. Getting Organized
3. Spend Less, Save More
4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5. Staying Fit and Healthy
6. Learn Something Exciting
7. Quit Smoking
8. Help Others in Their Dreams
9. Fall in Love
10. Spend More Time with Family

Did you see that? 'Getting Organized' is one of the top two resolutions people made in the new year. Looks like my colleagues and I are going to be very busy this year!

All kidding aside, many people say they want to get organized but are not successful at achieving their goal. Unfortunately, only a small percentage are. But why?

A few reasons:
- The goals they set for themselves are too vague.
- People get easily discouraged and give up too soon.
- They don't have a way of measuring their successes however small.

They don't have a PLAN.

That's why I would advise anyone who has made a resolution for themselves this year to do two things first:
- Create a plan for reaching your New Year's goal
- Set mini-goals within that plan

Planning out the path for reaching a goal can be as easy as doing a 'brain dump' on a piece of paper or on your computer. Create a list of all the steps you need to take to reach your goal. They don't need to be in any order--you can fix that later.

If you're a visual person like me, you might want to use a graphic organizer to help you with your plan. This is a great way to organize your thoughts. An example of one:

Courtesy of The Writing Bug

If 'Getting Organized' is one of your New Year's resolutions, write 'Get Organized' in the big circle. In the next smaller circles write the room/area of your home or life you'd like to get organized. In the smallest circles (attached to the medium sized circles) list the tasks that need to be done to achieve your resolution to get organized. Create as many spokes and circles as needed. These are your mini-goals.

A mini-goal is a tiny step to complete on your way to reaching your ultimate goal. It helps you to break down the process into smaller, more manageable pieces.

Examples of mini-goals for getting your home/life organized:

-Every Tuesday, I will sort/purge/organize one drawer in my dresser until all drawers have been gone through.

-I will label an envelope 'Receipts' and once a week, I will empty my wallet of all receipts into that envelope. At the end of the month I will review all receipts.

-At the end of the day, I will spend 15 minutes making sure all items are in the home they belong in.

-I will create a 'Donations' bag in my garage and pledge to put all items to be donated in it. When I know I will pass the local thrift shop, I will put the bag in my car, drop off the donations and place the donations bin back in its 'home.'

-I will inventory my pantry before heading to the supermarket.

Successfully setting mini-goals and reaching them are cause for celebration--don't over look that. Every mini-goal milestone brings you a step closer to your goal and should be honored and celebrated!

"Vision without action is daydream. 
Action without vision is nightmare" 
- Japanese proverb

Did you make any New Year's resolutions? What's your plan?


Janet Barclay said...

When making resolutions, most people look at what they've been doing wrong and find a way to stop doing it, or to do it better. This year, I decided to look at what I've been doing RIGHT, and do more of it!

Stacey Agin Murray, Professional Organizer said...

That's a great attitude to have, Janet! If everyone would do that, there would be more happy people in this world. Thanks for stopping by...

Linda Samuels said...

Love your concrete description of the mini-goals, Stacey. I know that will help many people really understand how to break things down into small, doable steps. It's important to have the big picture in mind, but without the next steps, we can often paralyze ourselves into inaction.

Stacey Agin Murray, Professional Organizer said...

Thanks for your kind words, Linda. I've come to realize that what I do well as a general skill and do for my clients is break down a task into smaller, manageable pieces. I have found that 'breaking it down' into the most teeny-tiny of steps prevents that 'paralysis' most people feel before starting an overwhelming project or life event.