Archive for July 1st, 2008

Girl Pouting Over Bowl of Cereal
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Small changes can make a big difference. If you are trying to make big changes in your life, don’t be afraid to start small. All the small things you do to better yourself or change your situation prepare you to handle the bigger things. I personally feel that it’s better to start small and succeed, than to set an unrealistic goal, not reach it, and feel disappointed and angry with myself.

If you have something big you want to change, break it down and figure out which part of that big change you can handle first. I have a goal to improve my physical health (which definitely connects with every other kind of health) because that is an area where I can definitely be considered a slacker. Rather than trying to rush into working out five days a week, eat the best food possible every time I’m hungry, and so on, I broke it down. What can I do first? What can I do now? Well, I could grocery shop more than once every two months. Now I hit the grocery store once every two weeks, or once a week if absolutely necessary. I’ve saved money and fortunately, I’ve been able to make slightly better food choices. I’ve managed to start going to the gym once a week. Not much – but a vast improvement over never going.

When it comes to organizing, I often deal with clients who think everything has to change right now. That mentality often ends up making them feel overwhelmed and frustrated. So, I help them figure out where they need to start, and we work at a steady pace until we can take on a little more….and then a little more….

Here are some suggestions for a few small changes you can make that will help your progress if you are trying to (a) get more organized, (b) gain more control of your time, or (c) get better at getting things done.

Put things away when you are done using them. It seems easier at the time to just sit something aside when you are done with it. But when you’ve set 100 things aside, or let a sink full of dishes pile up, when you get ready to deal with it, it just seems like too much, and you could possibly lose your motivation. What happens then? Things keep adding up. Putting things back where they belong also will save you time the next time you need whatever it is – you’ll know exactly where to find it.

Stop trying to remember everything in your head. Tomorrow, you’ll suddenly remember something you really needed to take care of today. Trust me, I see it happen all the time. Make a to-do list, or keep a note pad with you. I love notepads because I have lots of random thoughts. Sometimes it’s a writing topic, other times it’s a person I need to call or an errand I need to run. I flip through the notes at least once a day for a quick refresher and cross things off as I get them done.

Shift your attitude. Decrease the amount of negative self talk you engage in. Negative self talk hold us back from all the great things that are possible for us. It’s best to get rid of all of it, but changing your thought habits doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Next time you catch yourself saying something negative, counter it with two positive things. Through the course of my studies and personal reading, the research I’ve read seems to point to 21 days. Steve Pavlina has a great article on his website called 30 Days to Success that I recommend if you are trying to break a bad habit of any kind. Next time you catch yourself saying something negative, counter it with two positive things.

Start this new month off by making a small change that contributes to a larger goal you have in mind. It will definitely make a big difference.

(This article was featured in The Seventeenth Edition of the Carnival of Improving Life.)

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