If Heaven had a flavor ... it would be coffee.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Resolutions - Yay, or Nay?

I've been reading articles all week about those who don't believe in New Year's resolutions.  They also don't believe in setting goals, or self-improvement urges.  Yet they talk a lot about getting back on track, getting rid of clutter and getting organized once and for all.  They discuss things like, "Making Life Effortless," and "Changing anything you want in your life," "How to end procrastination once and for all."  Toss out expectations!  Simplify!  Live smoothly with chaos!  Don't tell me what to do!

So much advice on "how to."  Sure, I mentally make resolutions each year, as well as throughout the year, and for the most part I meet my own expectations.  I could share with you my plan, what works for me, but I think we would all agree in the end it depends on motivation.  Does this really mean enough to me to make it happen? Perhaps someone's illness motivates you to purchase a smoothie blender.  Maybe you read that 20 minutes of daily exercise can decrease your chances of cancer in half and that catapults you into moving your butt.  Whatever the struggle - be it laziness, disorganization, putting-off that which eventually is going to catch up with you ... in the end we are either motivated to make the change permanent or not.  

Some of the biggest changes take years to accomplish (ending a dysfunctional relationship), or months (de-cluttering and organizing), or weeks (adding more fruits/vegetables to our diets), or days (reading a book). Whatever is important enough to you to change, is worth the effort if it makes you feel better.  It can take a smoker 15 attempts before he quits.

 If you're one that bites off too much to accomplish, take a nibble today and a bigger nibble next week.  If you're one that tries to change too many things at once, change one thing this month, another thing next month.  If you're not up on current events - vow to read one article each day - that's 30 in a month and now you'll know what everyone's talking about.  If you feel like you're always playing catch-up with your finances you'd be surprised how small changes can put more change in your pocket.

Vow to use grocery coupons for the next 3 months.  Purchase only what's on sale and off-season.  Get your storage garage emptied and stop paying for something that you can show nothing for.  Cut back on eating out, eat less red-meat, cancel a magazine subscription, take the bus to work twice a week, bring coffee to work instead of buying it on the way, bring your lunch to work, never pay full price.  The possibilities are endless and little steps add up to big ones and before you know it you are debt-free, fit, and organized enough that you no longer care who may pop in on you unexpectedly!  

In 2011 I got clutter-free and organized.  It required a new mind-set to get rid of things that I considered important to pass on to my children, but which they informed me were unimportant. Important were the memories and the photos.  I threw out until I was left with only that which I use.  Everything I was left with has a place - it required bookcases, decorative boxes and storage containers, files and a routine.  It felt good - it cleared the clutter from my mind.

In 2012 I have set up financial goals that will have me debt-free in 3 years instead of 5.  Everything is automatically paid so I don't have to continually make the decision.  I've bought a kick-ass blender that is helping me make healthier choices, and I've vowed to cross the street each day to go to the club and use the treadmill.

I think goals are good.  I think lists are good.  I know motivation is necessary.  Motivation increases when we see progress, so the closer I get to my goals the more motivated I get.  It's a wonderful circle.  :o)

Now I need to cross the street .....