Why New Year's Resolutions Fail

In my opinion, the beginning of the year isn't a good time to commit to life altering resolutions - too often the required changes are too uncomfortable to contemplate.  Trying to commit to saving money or losing weight right after the overindulgence of the holidays is bound to fail. Personally, I find a higher rate of success making "grand" resolutions annually on my birthday.

At the beginning of each birthday year I outline what my goals are in terms of my business and family life. I try to schedule my time, energy and resources in order to spread big projects out over the year and ensure that they don't coincide with special events such as vacations or scheduled family celebrations. Since my birthday is in August that means that by New Year's Day I am one quarter into my new plan. What a psychological boost!

Start out your year with action oriented mini-resolutions focusing initially on short term instead of long term results. Commit to change in small do-able stages and you're more likely to experience success. The cumulative energy derived from completing necessary tasks will propel you towards the bigger goals. Here are some suggestions to integrate this type of planning into your 2009 resolutions.

Renovations - Early this year we will be renovating the kitchen. We planned and designed the layout in the fall and purchased the material before the holidays. The material has already been delivered and the contractors are scheduled. With a little pre-planning we'll have a head start on completing this big goal sooner than later.

Organizing - It only takes a few minutes to organize something so start small and work towards bigger tasks. My husband and I started by winnowing out our closet to remove worn out items and make way for clothing gifts we got for Christmas. The added bonus is that we could pull out the warm weather clothing items we plan to take on our upcoming vacation. You can get the same big bang for the time devoted to sorting piles of paperwork or stacks of photos. These tasks can be done in front of the TV or while listening to the radio.

Personal Improvement - Are you planning to quit smoking or drinking or lose weight?  Approaching a life altering change can be overwhelming so start with small changes that are do-able in the short term.

For example, instead of resolving to lose weight, begin by endeavouring to eat healthier food. The first do-able action step is to research healthy recipes on-line or flip through your magazine or recipe files. Next, determine the food inventory stored in your fridge and the pantry. Use up or toss out food items that don't fit your healthy criteria. Then create a master grocery list of food items that will help you to stick to your eat healthy resolution. With any luck, weight loss will follow as a happy side effect.  

Improved Communications - As a Professional Organizer who specializes in Family Management I can say for certain that poor communication often causes family distress.

Who is supposed to be where, at what time and how will they get there? Who will be home for dinner? These every day time management issues can quickly be resolved with improved communication between family members. We keep a monthly calendar on the fridge that is colour coded with who will be where when. Voice mails, e-mails or texting can also quickly and easily clarify family plans and last minute changes.  

Whatever your plans for the New Year, resolve to take things one step at a time. Record your success and keep moving through your list of things you want to do to improve your satisfaction level.



Tree and Decorating Tips

Tree and Decorating Tips

Click here for a tree decorating demonstration and some quick holiday tips.

Or watch the fast forward 
9 second version!

Photography and video courtesy of Alan Sencich




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Tackle it Now Tip

Hints for Handling Your Gift List

How do you handle your holiday wish lists? Sometimes the simplest hints are the best. For years I have been using the same easy to implement method.

  • I purchase the tiniest address book I can find and assign one page for each person on my guest list.
  • I record their sizes, colour and style preferences.
  • I include family members, friends, hairdresser and all service providers.
  • I keep the list inside my wallet so it can quickly and easily be updated.
  • Information for stocking gifts is also recorded.
  • I can frequently review what I have purchased to keep my budget on track.
  • As I wrap gifts I check them off!
  • If certain gifts need to be hidden I record where they were put.
  • I also list ideas and purchases of hostess gifts to keep on hand.

There are many benefits to this system. It is lightweight and portable, but most importantly since I keep the lists year after year, it helps me to prevent repeating gift ideas. Who wants to get a sweater or tie year after year?


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