“Happy New Year!” These three words can spark both excitement and dread: hope for things to come and anxiety about keeping our New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, many are boycotting New Year’s Resolutions altogether this year because they are often empty promises we never keep to ourselves. We all have our own individual resolutions: exercise more, stop smoking, eat healthily, go back to school, get a new job, spend more time with family, etc. Most of us eat healthy for a couple of weeks; we work out every day, then once a week, then once a month; we make a date for a Family Game Night but never follow through. Life gets busy and time goes by and the resolutions fade away.
What if, instead, we had New Year Goals? A Resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” That is pretty rigid. A Goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.” A Goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. We can adjust our goals throughout the year as we grow and learn.
Getting Organized is on almost everyone’s list, and I believe it is the first step to reaching ALL of our Goals! How?
Being organized saves time and money!!
- Can find what you need when you need it.
- Don’t overbuy items because you know what you have and where it is.
- Can buy ahead and plan purchases.
- No lost bills, late fees, or penalties because you pay on time.
- Can make a budget so you don’t overspend.
- Plan errands and trips so you have money on fuel.
- Less stress because you are not frantically looking for misplaced items.
- Stronger relationships and fewer family conflicts over clutter.
- More time to exercise, plan, and cook meals.
- More time for devotion, family, friends, and hobbies.
So how do you begin?
Next, make an Action Plan for each Goal, including Steps and Resources:
Goal: Get Organized!
This goal is too vague – break it down into smaller goals and be more specific!
Goal: Organize the Master Closet by My Birthday
Goal: Organize Pantry by Valentine’s Day
Goal: Organize Garage by June 1st.
These Goals are all measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based!
Next, list the steps to reaching each Goal.
Goal: Organize Paperwork by April 17th
- Gather supplies
- Gather ALL paperwork
- Sort each paper into piles: “Keep”, “Trash”, “Shred”
- Sort “Keep” pile into 2 categories: “Action Required” & “To File”
- Keep “Action Required” papers in a “To-Do” File
Sort File pile into categories
|Adoption papers||Insurance policies|
|Advisers and contacts lists||Investment records and pension plans|
|Baptism and confirmation records||Marriage certificates|
|Birth certificates||Medical records|
|Business ownership papers||Memberships and subscriptions|
|Citizenship and naturalization papers||Military records|
|Credit card information||Net worth statements|
|Debts owed and those to be collected||Patents and copyrights|
|Divorce papers||Powers of attorney|
|Easement papers||Property appraisals, deeds, and titles|
|Educational records||Safe-deposit box inventory|
|Employment records and identity cards||Social Security cards and numbers|
|Family history||Tax records|
|Financial accounts||Veterinary records|
|Funeral and burial plans and records||Warranties, guarantees, and owner manuals|
|Household property inventory||Wills and trusts|
|Income and expense records|
You can make subcategories as well. “Financial Accounts” may also include Taxes, Banking, Statements, Receipts, Investments, etc. Set up a retrieval system that works for YOU.
Next, list your available resources.
- Supplies: file cabinet or file box, file folders, label maker, post-it notes, pens, stapler, paperclips, etc.
- A Paper Saving Timeline
3. Professional Help from an accountant and a professional organizer
4. List of local Shredding Facilities
Once you do this for each Goal you are well on your way to a successful Year!
Remember: be flexible – sometimes our life and goals change, and that’s ok!
This New Year: Light Your Own Spark!