January is half over. How are you doing on your New Year’s Resolutions? If you’re like most people, those resolutions have already become fleeting memories. And, if you’re like many people, “getting organized” was one of the items on your resolution list. In fact, getting organized has ranked in the top four most popular resolutions (right up there with losing weight) every year for the past 11 years!
To maximize your effectiveness in 2016, set smarter goals for yourself. “S.M.A.R.T.E.R.” is an acronym standing for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timed, Excuses, and Reward. Research demonstrates that those who actually write down their goals are infinitely more successful than those whose goals are just thoughts – 42% more likely!
Specific: The more specific your organizing goal, the greater your odds of accomplishing it. “Organize My Closet” is a pretty vague, broad goal. It doesn’t provide specifics or guidelines. In contrast, “Organize my closet by trying on clothes and getting rid of outfits that don’t fit, are torn/worn out, or out of style” is much more specific.
Measurable: There’s a saying that what gets measured gets managed. It’s true. When you measure things, they garner more focus and attention. How can you quantify your goal to measure success? Perhaps, “Pare down the volume of clothes in my closet by 20%” would work. Now it’s easy to measure success. You had ten pairs of pants, you got rid of 20% or two pairs, you have eight pairs left.
Achievable: Don’t set yourself up for failure before you begin. Make sure the goal you’re setting for yourself is something that can be achieved. “I will keep my closet organized by not buying any new clothes all year” is probably a stretch. For a small number of people, this might be achievable, but for most people it wouldn’t be. Instead, you might set a maintenance goal of discarding one item of clothing for every new piece that comes in; in this way, you maintain equilibrium.
Realistic: Make sure the goal you’re setting is realistic for you. Your friend might be willing and able to adopt a capsule wardrobe comprised of only 30 pieces. You may desire more variety and that sort of restriction would be unrealistic for you, and thus unattainable.
Timed: “I will organize my closet by reducing the volume of clothing by 20%.” OK, that’s a good start. But when is it going to happen? Is this next week, or five years from now? By adding a specific deadline (i.e., by 3/30/16) you have a deadline to work towards. Having a due date creates a sense of urgency. Statistically, we all perform better when we’re up against a deadline. A goal without a deadline is just a dream.
Excuses: Brainstorm what excuses you might make that will derail you. Some common excuses may include: “I don’t have the time,” “I’m too tired,” or “’X’ is more important.” Instead, come up with some counters to those excuses. For example, spend ten to fifteen minutes a day (three days a week) trying on clothes, or rather than trying to organize your closet after a long day at work, set aside three hours first thing Saturday morning. It’s easier to plan ways to handle those obstacles so you stay focused and on track.
Reward Yourself: Building in a reward system for yourself (no, I don’t mean buying a new sweater!) reinforces your efforts and acknowledges the hard work and effort you put forth to accomplish your goal. For example, meet a friend for coffee, go for a run, or schedule a massage or a manicure.
Now that you know how to create smarter goals, you’re well on your way to achieving your organizing objectives. As always, I’m here to help you with any organizing needs or goals you have. Just call me at 973-334-3477 or fill out the contact form.
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and productive 2016!