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Take a look around you. Every single item you see represents your choice to have that item in your life. You either chose to purchase the item, or were given the item and chose to keep it. From your new red sweater to the pile of junk mail on your kitchen counter, every item represents a choice made.

When your life is full of clutter, you might begin to resent all the “stuff” around you. Why do you think that happens? Often it is because you don’t LOVE the stuff you are looking at! Maybe the sweater doesn’t fit anymore. Maybe it was an impulse purchase that you now regret. Sometimes we purchase too much of a good thing – who really needs five staplers? – because it is much easier to buy the thing we need than find it in the junk yard that has become our home or office. When someone sends a gift or just gives us something we “have to” have, we often feel obligated to keep it “for a little while.” Let me tell you, I’ve met plenty of people whose “little while” is now 5+ years.

Make a choice NOW to change things. Start small. Pick five items around you. If you don’t absolutely love the item, find it useful/functional, or it doesn’t add beauty to your environment, get rid of it. Ebay, CraigsList, yard sale, trash can. I don’t care – let it go. It doesn’t matter if you paid $100 for it. If you have the receipt, take it back. No receipt? Ebay or donate it. Your peace of mind is more important than $100.

What items are you holding on to that you need to let go of?

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I ran across an article about New Years resolutions.  Here’s a snippet.:

“This is going to be a very different year for many people,” Greg Helmstetter, CEO of myGoals.com, states in a press release. “In 2009, we expect people to forego big moves, career changes or vacations, and instead focus on reconnecting with friends, spending time with family, and organizing and improving their home.”

Here in Frederick, resolutions made by those interviewed for this story reflect those expectations. Organizing homes and decreasing personal debt were common wishes expressed by people at Francis Scott Key Mall and in downtown Frederick.

Church Street resident Jane Mackley said she can’t remember if she made a 2008 resolution, but she’s ready for 2009.

“I’ve been procrastinating too long about getting things organized around the house and getting rooms painted and getting on the stick with all of that,” she said. “Hopefully it will be a better year for getting things done around the house.”

It was interesting to read about various people’s goals and why some people have made the firm decision to get organized. Check it out! Read the full article at wtop.com

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Personally, I do not make New Years resolutions. There’s nothing wrong with making resolutions. They make people feel warm and fuzzy. It’s nice to feel warm and fuzzy sometimes. The problem with resolutions is that most people drop them by the end of the month – some people simply state the resolution and never even really try. Do you know many people join gyms in January? A lot!

If you want to get organized this year, whether it is for your home, office, car, purse, or brain, I have a challenge for you.  Write down the resolutions. Post them up somewhere prominent. Put them in your planner. Tell your friends and family.  But don’t just stop with stating the resolution – turn it into a goal and turn that goal into your reality. Set manageable deadlines and milestones.

If you want to “get organized in ’09” stop being so broad. What do you want to organize? Even if you feel like you want to organize “everything,” list what everything means to you – your home, your office, your paperwork, children’s rooms, the garage, the basement, family photos.  List out what you want to do so you have a better picture of what is ahead of you.

You can NOT do everything at once – even if you have nothing else to do with your time. So break down the work. What is your goal for January? The office? Okay, great. So maybe at the top of your January calendar page you write “Goal: Organize my office.”  The next thing you should do is decide what you can do each week to get you closer to that goal. For example:

  • Week 1: Filing all papers so that all 2008 stuff is out of the way and I have fresh files for 2009
  • Week 2: Organizing all office supplies and making sure I purchase the appropriate ones so I have everything I need.
  • Week 3: Getting everything out of the office that does not belong in the office
  • Week 4: Rearrange the furniture, have a cleaning crew come through, creating a marketing plan for 2008, etc.

While “organize everything” and “organize my office” are broad goals, these narrowed down sub-goals are practical, achievable goals. Of course, you can break it down further. For week one, a daily goal could be to spend 15, 30, or 60 minutes a day filing (based on how much paper you have!). Of perhaps your goal is to schedule someone to come in during week one and do the filing for you. Perhaps you’ll hire a Professional Organizer. Maybe during week 4 you will with a feng shui expert, a cleaning crew, an interior designer, and a marketing consultant who can have you create a system for marketing your business.

This same formula can work for every area you want to organize. Just scale it appropriately. Maybe you spend a week cleaning out your car and set daily goals: toss all trash, buy a receipt organizer, buy small baskets for the car and talk to the kids about only having as much stuff in the car as will fit in the basket. When everyone gets out of the car, they put all of their stuff into their container. Purchase a mobile organizer that holds notebooks, pens, calculators, etc.

If you want to achieve your goals, whatever they might be, you have to do more than simply stating them. Take action. Start now while the calendar is fresh and there is optimism in the air. If you start planning now and work toward your goals, you will achieve great success this year.

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Have someone in your life that could use practical gift this holiday season? Hey, some practical gifts are pretty cool!

While browsing the web, I came across an article  with 10 suggestions for organizing gifts at LifeOrganizers.com.  Go check it out!

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If you celebrate Christmas, most likely you’ve started purchasing Christmas decorations. When the holidays have passed, you’ll need a place to properly store your decorations until the winter holidays roll around again. And if you procrastinators out there are going to be decorating the night before your family arrives in town, go ahead and keep the following tips in mind when you do your shopping.

5 Hints for Holiday Storage from Solutions.com

My mom LOVES Christmas and I definitely think she could use some of these organizing tools. Sometimes I don’t think you need a customized bin for everything you plan to store. But I think things like tree bags, ornament containers, and something to keep Christmas lights from getting tangled isn’t a bad idea.

Enjoy!

Alaia

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I’m not big on the holidays and wasn’t planning on doing a Thanksgiving themed post, but lately I have just been thinking that I have so much to be thankful for. Sometimes it is little things. Sometimes it is something that is huge, but I don’t see it in the moment.

I’m really really thankful for HELP. That’s for sure. We all need help at MANY points in our lives, so that is nothing original. But I am so appreciative of the help I have received. In a season full of transitions, here is a snippet of the help I am thankful for:

– my Ladies Who Launch incubator group –  a group of amazing women who have provided lots of support, insights, and ideas over the past couple of weeks as I have wondered how to proceed with the expansion of my business.

– members of my networking group who provide feedback, attend events, and help me brainstorm!

– a friend who gave me an emergency ride last night when I was stranded.

– my mother, who came to stay on and off in October to help me through the rapid transitions I was going through.

– fantastic business associates who have referred clients to me and offered me speaking opportunities.

These people (and more!) have helped me in immeasurable ways in the past few crazy months. Even in weeks (like this week) and days like this one, where I feel a little stressed and that I needs TONS more help, I am incredibly grateful for what I have been given – and for the people who trust and respect me and care about me. How great is that?

Like I said, I am not crazy about holidays (I wish I could sleep all day tomorrow!), but for all of you that love them like mad, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with the ones you love!

– Alaia

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Welcome to the August 31, 2008 edition of the Balanced Living Carnival.

Health/Wellness

Your posture is an important part of your health. Learn how to spot it, and fix it! Yongho Shin presents 4 Signs Of Bad Posture (And How To Fix It) posted at One Crumb.

Peter presents Six Scientific Ways to Create True Happiness posted at The Change Blog.

TherapyDoc presents Wall-E, Obesity, and The Magic Touch posted at Everyone Needs Therapy, saying, “This movie has subtle messages about wellness.”

Stephen presents How to Skillfully Deal with Suffering in the World posted at Balanced Existence.

You may be interested in learning about which brain areas and cognitive functions are engaged as we solve the type of brain teaser known as Spot the Difference. Now, want to try? Alvaro Fernandez presents Brain Teasers: Spot the Difference posted at SharpBrains.

Monica presents Trade Stress for Peace posted at Enjoying a Healthy and Balanced Life.

Motivation

ElleAtDefiningSomeday presents On Motivation: Why We Do What We Do posted at Defining Someday.

Sid Savara presents Positive Talk Creates Positive Action – How to Stop Talking Like a Loser posted at Sid Savara . com – Personal Development, Maximizing Productivity and Life Hacking, saying, “Every day we make many tiny decisions that affect our lives. One of the decisions we make almost unconsciously is the way we talk to ourselves, and the way our words affect our attitude and our action. I caught myself doing it yesterday when I considered going to the gym and then thought “I don’t want to do it.” Right away I decided that was it – no more loser talk, time to go work out!”

Sid is right on. After you read this article, take a gander and something I recently wrote called “Shift your attitude. What you say to yourself matters.”

Azelma Petit presents The Chuck Norris Guide to Self Motivation posted at Biz.Edu. The article gives advice on motivating yourself in all walks of life, including entrepreneurship, using the humor of Chuck Norris references.”

Personal Growth & Development

Achieving goals is a process – not just an end point- and the journey can be as enjoyable and significant as the destination.  ElleAtDefiningSomeday presents Enjoy the Ride posted at Defining Someday. Achieving goals is a process – not just an end point- and the journey can be as enjoyable and significant as the destination.

Toni presents You always have a choice posted at Happy Nest. This is a story about one of Toni’s life-defining moments. Making choices, no matter how simple or grand the situation is, empowers you. Passiveness won’t solve anything, but finding your voice and asserting it will.

Anand presents 3 Easy Ways to Change Your Emotional State Instantly posted at Anand Dhillon . com. The quality of our lives is the quality of our emotions. This article details 3 unique ways to instantly put yourself in a positive emotional state when you are feeling down.

Dr Martin W. Russell presents Working Through A Problem posted at Dr Martin W. Russell.

Chris Edgar presents Going On A Mental Diet posted at Purpose Power Coaching, saying, “Much of today’s personal development literature is about how the type of thoughts you think influence your reality. While I agree that the kind of thoughts you think affect your quality of life, I think it’s also important to recognize how the amount of thinking you do shapes your experience of living. There’s a growing recognition that too much thought of any kind, whether positive or negative, can bring needless suffering into your life. In this article, I discuss some of the ways excess thinking takes away our ability to fully participate in and enjoy life, and make some suggestions about how to stem the constant stream of thought.”

Rigdha presents 8 “Must Use” Free Time Management Tools to Save Tons of Time posted at Get Your Success Now.

AndrewB presents Hard Work or a Secret Formula? posted at Personal Hack. Ever wonder if success is a result of consistent hard work or a secret formula? This article sheds light on what Andrew says is really is behind success.

Caroline Middlebrook presents Learning To Deal With The Fear Of Change posted at Life Should Feel GOOD!.

David B. Bohl presents Is Enough Ever Enough? posted at Slow Down Fast Today!, asking readers, “Do you ever find yourself complaining that you need more or want more of something? Time, money, love, space, material possessions, happiness–what’s your “never enough”?”

Great Management presents All Managers Are Customers Too posted at The GreatManagement Blog, saying, “Whatever business you are in, you will find that there is one key cause of your success.”

Meg A. presents Who are you? posted at How to Make a Difference.

Productivity

Richard Johnson presents Happily Get More Done with Work Periods posted at Reaching A Better Place. In our contempt for the 9 – 5 work day we forget the value of having a work period. This article comments on the ways of applying one to our free time and why on Earth we’d want to.

Zantor presents The 8 Themes of Seeking Excellence posted at Internet Productivity.

Sweettooth presents How To Manage Your Gift Budget: 3 Easy Tips posted at Shop Little Gifts.

AndrewB presents 5 Instant Energy Tips posted at Personal Hack, asking, “Want instant energy? You know when you have one of those days where you get so much done, and feel energetic all day? Well these tips will help feel more energetic and productive right away.”

Relationships

ElleAtDefiningSomeday presents Wild Card Inside posted at Defining Someday. This article is about how watching someone else perform one of their strengths can help you to learn more about yourself.

Anthony Delgado presents How to Love Your Wife | eInquisitive | Think About What Matters Most. posted at eInquisitive | Giving you something productive to think about!.

Simplicity

Kathleen Gage presents Never enough time – or is there? posted at Daily Awareness, saying, “How many people live in the space of frustration? The fact is, there is not enough time to do all we think we must do, want to do or dream of doing. There is just too much to do, calls to make, people to see.

One of the few things we truly possess is time. There is only so much you can do and only so many roles you can play. How we choose to use the here and now is a personal and a powerful choice. Choose wisely.”

After you check out Kathleen’s article, take a gander at one I wrote called “The time is there. You just have to find it.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of the Balanced Living Carnival using our carnival submission form.

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