5 Ways to Make Your New Years Resolution Stick

Over 60% of Americans that make New Years resolutions will keep them through January. After that, the number continues to decline as the months go by. There are many reasons as to why so many resolutions are not maintained, but there are ways in which to improve your chances of achieving the goal.

1) Make it Positive: Resolutions that involve denying yourself something, such as diets, can be difficult. Instead, make the goal something positive, such as attending a fitness class 3 times per week for the year. This type of resolution can help you obtain the ultimate goal of weight-loss, but it will seem less restrictive in the process.

2) Be Specific: The most essential part of developing a goal is to outline in specifics what the goal is and how you will achieve it. For example, if your resolution is to read more, perhaps you could make a goal to complete one book every two weeks, at minimum. Create a calendar and keep yourself accountable to noting when the next reading deadline is and you’ll have greater chances of finishing the goal. 

3) Reinforce Yourself: If you’re working towards a goal, it helps to have reinforcement to encourage you. This can come in many forms, such as positive support from friends or family or perhaps a reward of a shopping spree after a benchmark has been met. When setting your goal timeline, add in benchmarks of when you will receive said reward and you’ll have something to look forward to while you are working.

4) Automate: The best way to achieve a goal is to remove yourself as the active participant. For instance, if your goal is to save more money this year, set up at automatic savings transfer to your savings account each payday. Without even thinking about it, you’ll have more money saved by the end of the year.

5) Be Realistic: Goals that are attainable are easier to work towards. Select resolutions that you have a high likelihood of achieving, such as losing 15lbs instead of 50lbs or attempting to have a more organized calendar instead of having a more organized life. Once you obtain the initial goal you can re-plan for future improvements.

We wish you luck in acheiving your New Years Resolutions and a Happy New Year!

TWOW

Reassess Your Resolutions

It’s the end of February! Time to reassess your New Year’s resolutions.

We ran a feature in our most recent newsletter about planning your goals for 2012.  We wanted to help you plan in a way that will set you up for success over the course of the year.  The end of February is the perfect time to evaluate what is and isn’t working and make positive adjustments to our goals! These adjustments can help get you back on track to achieving your organizational goals without abandoning them altogether.

I recommend taking just 30 minutes of quiet time during a weekend when you’re more likely to feel calm, rather than during the week when you may already be anxious due to work and home duties. In that half hour, pick out the resolutions that are completely off track. Are they relevant to where you are in your life anymore? If not, it’s okay to remove them from the list completely. Let them go. If the goal is still one you’d like to achieve, leave it on the list.

Remember to be realistic in how much time it will take to reach this goal and give yourself a little more time beyond that to get there. Reset your deadline and remember to work backward in setting your milestones. Check that newsletter for a crash course in doing this.

What else? Check back in with your buddy! Let her know that you’ve reassessed your resolutions and the goals you’d like to achieve have changed a bit, but you’ll still need her support in getting there. Set weekly check-ins with each other.

This is your year to reach your goals with diligence. At the same time, be gentle on yourself by performing a resolution reassessment every so often. Readjusting your 2012 to-do list will set you up for continued success over the rest of the year. Priorities change, and so should your goals!

Here’s to 2012, again!

-TWOW

On the Go: Our Favorite Organizational Apps

In keeping with our recent theme of organizational resolutions for the New Year, let’s spend a little time going mobile! That’s right, your mobile devices and computers are great resources for helping you achieve your goals in the time management, organizational and financial arenas – on the go. Here are the best WOW-approved apps for keeping your life organized, no matter where you are in your day!

EverNote: Let’s face it, it’s tough keeping track of everything you need to do and remember in your life. That’s why I LOVE Evernote.com and its mobile app. The majority of my day is spent out of the house and at appointments. Working is therapeutic for me –  I often do a lot of my best thinking during this time – which means I’m always coming up with ideas and to-dos for my own life. It can be tough to organize these goals, but with the Evernote app, I can easily whip out my phone and record such things as the books I’d like to read, movies I’d like to watch, articles I’d like to write, recipes I’d like to cook, webpages I’d like to revisit and new organizational tools I’d like to try. But what if I can’t remember the note once I need it? Well, there’s a tool for that, of course! Evernote has a search function that allows me to use keywords to reference the note or list I’d created for myself earlier that day or even two weeks ago. It syncs with my other devices, and I can even share notes with friends and employees. This app is my organizational lifesaver, and I recommend it to most of my clients.

Mint: Ever feel like you have so many accounts in so many places and no way to organize them? Fear not!  Mint.com does it for you in a safe, secure and mobile environment. Your Mint app connects and tracks information from each of your checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, loans and retirement funds. At any point in time, I can pull up my mint.com profile and see how much money is in each my financial accounts, all in one place. But what I love most about this app is the goal-setting function. You can set goals for paying off credit card and loan balances or saving for big purchases, on a self-determined timeline. The app shows you how much you need to pay or save each month to reach your goal. We all need a little help to reach our financial goals, and mint.com provides the encouragement and accountability you need to achieve an organized financial year.

PageOnce: Pageonce.com is a wonderful app that helps you organize your finances AND pay your bills online, from one place. Like mint.com, you can view each and every account in your financial life, safely and securely, and you can pay your bills on time from your smartphone with the touch of a button. Pageonce.com will also send you alerts and reminders when you have a bill due, which helps avoid late fees. You can even choose which account you’d like to use to pay that bill. I appreciate this function, as I can’t always remember every single log-in and password when I’m on the move and in between appointments. As a bonus feature, Pageonce will also import updates from other online accounts, such as travel, shopping, social networks, event management sites, and email. If you’re a busy woman, the Pageonce app keeps your online life organized and respects your time management goals – WOW!

Dinner Spinner: Whenever I decide to cook a meal that is unfamiliar to me and my kitchen, I head straight to allrecipes.com for ideas that are quick and easy. I love to cook, but I’m also very busy, and so are my clients. Not only do I find what I’m looking for, but allrecipes.com also points me to variations on the theme in the event that the first recipe I find isn’t the right one for me and my family. Dinner Spinner is the mobile app for allrecipes.com, and it is compatible with both the iPhone and Android platforms. With this app, I can browse recipes, bookmark my favorites, share recipes with friends and create a shopping list. Cooking dinner at home helps me save money, a goal I set for my family every year. Being able to organize my meals on the go is just the icing on the cake!

 

Grocery Gadgets: Another app that saves me money and time on my way to the grocery store is Grocery Gadgets. It allows me to organize my grocery lists, recipes and coupons for free, on my phone. The app even syncs with every device in my household, which keeps my kitchen life managed, no matter where I am. With Grocery Gadgets, I can create my list, see the prices and search for offers online – talk about organized! The part I love the most about this app is that I can check the items off when I’ve bought them – putting the check in check-list is most gratifying for a Well-organized Woman!

 

If you are a mobile woman who is on the go all of the time, give any of these apps a try. You’ll be an organized, domestic and financial goddess in no time! Enjoy!

-TWOW

10 Tools to Keep Your New Year Organized

Happy New Year! I hope that your holidays were relaxing and organized. So many of my clients have such tremendous energy towards getting organized in the new year, and the momentum is truly inspiring! As the month of January gets underway, though, it is time for all of us to face the music in getting to our goals. I thought I’d take a moment to share 10 tools that can help you fulfill your resolutions in 2012 and beyond. I use each of them in my own day-to-day life, and I often encourage my clients to use those that are right for their organizational styles, as well. Read on to set yourself up for success!

1. Slow Cooker: Cooking at home is a great way to save a significant amount of money, as well as to eat healthier meals – two goals that are on most resolution lists every year. But often we find ourselves just too exhausted when we get home to prepare a full dinner, especially in the cold winter months when it gets dark earlier in the evening. A slow cooker is an age-old solution to this problem and requires a small amount of prep time. You can even prepare the contents of the next day’s meal the night before while you’re watching TV, rather than the moment you get home. In fact, I love to marinate my meats and veggies in the pot overnight (in the fridge) and simply pop it in the heating unit before I leave for the day’s activities. I like this model by Hamilton Beach because it has a timer option that switches to “Warm” mode when it’s completed its cooking cycle. Nothing feels and smells better than coming home to an already home-cooked, warm and hearty meal after a long day working!

2. Grid Organizer: The GRID-IT Cocoon Organizer is one of my favorite portable and storable organizational products. I recommend it to my clients and often give it as a gift at the holidays. Not only is it perfect for travelling in your carry-on or your purse, it’s also perfect for organizing small things around the house like earphones, cell phones, etc.

3. Purse Perfector: Chances are you’ve heard me go on and on about the wonders of the Purse Perfector, and there’s a reason! As we mentioned in our past post, Power to the Purse: How to Keep Your Handbag Organized, the Purse Perfector is a removable pouch with several pockets to hold all of your handbag must-haves. Not only will you know where things are in your purse when you need them, but you’ll be able to change handbags easily by simply moving the Purse Perfector over to tomorrow’s bag. A clean and de-cluttered handbag brings you one step closer to an organized New Year.

4. Closet Shelf Unit: Recently, I re-organized my own closet at home, and I put in this shelving unit from ClosetMaid Cubeicals to hold non-hangables. I recommend this 9-cube organizer to almost every client to organize any room in the house – from playrooms to home offices – but I have been particularly happy with it as a closet unit. City living can mean limited space for storing items like socks, under garments, t-shirts and exercise clothes. You can find it at target.com, and it is usually on sale about once a month. Give this unit a try to keep your closet and your clothing looking their best!

5. Cable Cord Holder: Sometimes it’s the little things, like hundreds of electronics cables tangled under your desk or plugged into your wall, that can make your home seem completely messy and cluttered. I stumbled upon Blue Lounge’s CableBox and CableBox Mini last year and have since used them in my own home. What a difference! The bright colors add a little pop to my home office, and all cords are nicely streamlined and hidden.

6. Winter Sales: New Years resolutions aren’t just about the beginning of the year. I also like to think ahead to the last half of the year and what I’d like to accomplish. Winter sales are a great way to stock up on gifts, wrapping paper, holiday cards and decorations at extremely discounted prices. Try target.com or momastore.org. Come next holiday season, you’ll already have new materials to work with and you won’t have to spend a small fortune to prepare!

7. Labeler: My go-to organizational accessory is the Dymo LetraTag labeler. I use it every single day with all clients and in my own home. Labeling drawers and compartments, folders and office supplies, boxes and storage bins, etc. is a key to successfully organizing and staying that way. The label serves as a reminder of what goes where, and you’ll be less likely to let things sit out or go in the wrong spot when you see them.

8. Mail Processing System: Mail has a tendency to pile up in many of my clients’ homes. Not only does this look messy but it can also lead to missed bill payments. To solve this problem, I encourage people to keep a table top file in an obvious place to sort your mail. Keep one similar to the picture below on your front table or the surface where you always drop your bag and keys when you walk in the door. The sorter is the first thing you’ll see, so it encourages you to open your mail right away and sort it according to the actions you need to take with each.

9. Night and Morning Routine: One tool you can’t buy is time. But I can at least give you a few tips for how to get more of it on your side! I have found over time that a morning wake-up routine and an evening wind-down routine keep my mind calm, organized and ready for a productive day or a restful night. At night, I like to prepare myself for the day ahead, followed by a little me-time-down-time. I’ll look at my agenda and set out my clothing and make-up for the next day. I’ll then take a little time to read before heading to bed. Then in the morning, I can easily get ready and spend time with my coffee with a clear head and organized intentions.

10. Lug Bag: I’ve had a Lug tote for a few years now, and I simply love it as a carryall for carrying my clothing and shoes to the gym. This durable bag has a compartment for your shoes in the bottom of the tote that keeps them away from your clothes and has a breathable mesh cover. The main compartment has enough space to hold your clothing and iPod, and side pockets hold your water bottle and a snack! If one of your resolutions is to spend more time being active, this tote helps you do so with style and ease.

10 new tools is a lot to add to your daily life but integrating two or three into the mix at a slow but sure pace can really improve your chances for lasting organizational success this year. I go into greater detail on a few of these items on my latest TV segment with Shaunya Chavis and Kimberly Kennedy of The Chat Room… Good luck and happy organizing!

-TWOW

New Year’s Resolutions that Stick!

Check out Claire’s strategies for working towards your New Year’s Resolutions in the January issue of the Atlanta INtown Paper!

The Well-Organized Woman Showcased in The Red & Black!

The Well-Organized Woman was featured in a January 15th special section of The Red & Black (the independent student newspaper of The University of Georgia) on New Year’s Resolutions! Read the story here.

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