07 January 2010

Resolve to make Goals

Resolutions: easily made, easily broken it seems. So many people have such good intentions as the year changes anew. Yet, so often these good intentions are quickly forgotten and so we find ourselves playing out the same scenes as we have for so many years prior. Quite a cycle we get ourselves into...

I have never been one to make "resolutions." I am, instead, a person who lives by goals. Short term goals that support long term goals that blossom into long term achievements. I often tell people that projects and problems are like eating a hamburger, you gotta do it one bite at a time. We all can imagine what it would be like to try to eat a hamburger in one big bite. Which is probably why we choke on projects and problems. So I try very hard to look at all aspects of life with my hamburger in mind. Each project and problem - my hamburger - each small goal - a bite! Make a plan of bites (and not one out of the middle - because that doesn't work too well either) and getting chomping!

Here is an example of a recent problem I had and how I turned it into one tasty experience. I sometimes get overwhelmed by life, living and the other people in my life. We all do. So, the house had become a nightmare of piles, problems and unfinished projects. Not to mention getting chores done. I knew I needed a plan - and I knew I couldn't get it all done in one fell swoop. My plan would happen in stages - or bites. It went like this:

First, I cleaned up just the dining room table. Yep, just that.

The catch was that it now had to stay clean. (This is of course is usually the hard part.) Everyday, it had to be cleared and wiped down after each meal. It also had to not collect any items, no piles. Each thing that showed up on the table had to be put away where it belongs. And I kept at this goal each day.

Second, I added into the routine two "Must Do Rules."

Everyday I make the bed. And after every meal I do the dishes. There you have the two rules and they aren't even too hard. Now I had a clear space (they help with clear minds) and I had a tidy bed and no dirty dishes. I already felt better.

Then the progression began. I started in one room and cleaned it entirely. Putting each item out of its' place back into its' place. Dusting, clearing, vacuuming. Each day I did one room, making sure I kept the table clean, the bed made and the dishes washed. It really wasn't too taxing at all. Again, the hard part was making the goal to tidy the newly cleaned room each day. Keep it clean and clear!!!

I progressed from room to room. Sometimes breaking rooms down into multiple sections, so I didn't feel overwhelmed. But always making the goal to keep each newly cleaned room tidy. Honestly, if you simply make the conscious decision to not leave things out of place and to give things a regular once over it really isn't hard to keep up. Try it!

Finally, I got through every room and when I was done...

I had an entirely clean house. I had kept all the "done" rooms tidy and so when all was finished there were no messes left behind. And the most exciting part of it all. Now I spend just a short bit of time putting just a couple items away each day, follow my brief chore schedule (a blog on this coming soon!), and I have a clean and comfortable house with almost no effort! It is such a great feeling! Keeping on top of things takes almost no effort at all, especially compared to trying to clean the huge mess left if you don't make that little bit of effort. It is completely self-rewarding!!! Start small, work small and see yourself through to a huge achievement.


  1. What a great idea!! We actually made a list of all the things we wanted to accomplish in the house before company came. It was on the fridge for a few days as a constant reminder of doing just one thing made the list a little shorter. Now that the house is clean I love that it'll be easier to keep up with... I'm anxiously awaiting your chore schedule!! I'm still trying how to figure out my system!!!

    Thanks for the ideas!! What about our restaurant critic?

  2. Thank you so much for your comment. I feel so much more relaxed by maintaining a clean home rather than fighting to create that clean environment!

    I am really excited to put up the blog about chore schedules. It really helped us when we were both working full time. And just like your list - we kept our chore schedule on the refrigerator - to keep it in the forefront of our thoughts!

    (The critic will be back when we get a chance to eat out again! Limited budgets and all that...)