Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Making Changes to Habits

As I've mentioned before, and you're well aware of, January is the month for the focus on self-improvement, change, diet/exercise/giving up smoking, etc. And while our quest for bettering ourselves is wonderful, we need to be realistic. Have you seen all the magazine covers with tips for losing weight and getting more organized? If it was just that easy -- read an article and poof! You're skinny/a non-smoker/organized/whatever.

The key is small changes. Going cold turkey or making major changes to your routine all at once is rarely effective. Like a train that gravitates toward tracks, as humans we tend to go with what we know and what we're used to -- we follow the path of least resistance of normalcy. What is easy and least disruptive to our comfort level is the simplest for us to follow.

For example, let's say you want to get organized. Your normal habit is to deal with clutter occasionally and time management is difficult for you. Organization is not your cup of tea, so you go out and:

  • buy as many books on the topic you can find

  • purchase a labeler and containers of all shapes and sizes

  • tell yourself you'll spend hours a day sorting, purging and setting up storage systems

  • buy an electronic organizer gadget and 3 calendars

Do you think that this is a realistic change? Or perhaps the extreme shift won't 'stick' because it may be difficult to maintain?

You need to consider your existing lifestyle and personality. Be realistic. Expect that things will not do a 180 overnight. Adopt smaller, manageable steps towards change so that it can become part of your lifestyle. If it is doable, you are more likely to do it and increase your chances of success long-term. Good luck in whatever improvement you want to make, but remember that 'slow and steady win the race'.