You Are Your Own Goal-Keeper

Making goals at the beginning of the year is easy: you feel more optimistic and motivated to make a fresh start. Come of the end of January, however, a lot of us find ourselves falling off of the wagon. It takes about 21 days, or 3 weeks, to develop or kick a habit. If we haven’t set realistic goals for ourselves then it’s less likely we’re going to form new habits and stick with them. Plus, once the shine of the new year wears off, you begin to feel less motivated, especially here where the days are still short and shockingly cold.
I’m the last person to be talking about setting New Year’s resolutions, though. Every year I set the same goal of reading more (50-60 books/year) and even though I read a little bit more every year, I still find myself falling short. I’ve set myself goals on Goodreads. I’ve announced my goal to all of my friends (who generally think I’m crazy). I started a reading journal but seeing as I already journal I found the practice difficult to sustain. I even promised myself that I would try and read an hour every night beforehand, which works out great (not) because I’m not always great at having a set bedtime.
The reason I don’t make my goal every year is because it’s ill-defined; I rely on others and the formation of other habits I don’t already have in place to try and get what I want. I am not my own goal-keeper. If you’re not keeping your resolutions, you might not be your own goal-keeper either.
In life, you’ve got the opposing team (your competition and your enemies) and your team (family and friends). These are the people who will act as your defense and sometimes even participate in your offense. But you’re the only one that’s watching the goal.
Asking your defense to watch your goal means they have to take their eyes off of the offense, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Plus, each member of your team has their own goals to watch. They don’t have time to check your position.
Relying on a teammate you don’t have, or a piece of equipment that isn’t there doesn’t make sense either because you need to be able to fit those things into your game strategy now. If you think that you’ll get x just as soon as you get y then your goal is really about getting the y and not the x. (For example, I can’t read before bed if I don’t have a set bedtime. Then setting the bedtime becomes the goal, instead of reading beforehand.)
Well, no more. This year, I’m my own goal-keeper, responsible for my own goals. I’m doing this by being realistic and making my goal tangible: instead of setting a goal to read more (what is more?), I’m blocking off an hour every day on my calendar (when I know I’m awake) and dedicating it to reading. No excuses. No pretending. It’s there in black and white, so there’s no arguments and because it’s in my planner I’ve got no one to blame but myself if I miss a day.
Is it a perfect system? No. But can I keep up with it consistently? 90% of the time the answer is yes.
Right now, I’m kind of ok with those odds.
In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

5 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Still Make (and Keep!)

I’m the first person to admit that I have never had much success at making new year’s resolutions, but even so I firmly believe that there is no right time to kick an old habit, start something new or think about the things you can do to improve your life. Self-improvement (much like your professional development) is your own project and there are certain simple things that you can start doing today (yes, today!) that in the long-run can lead to a happier and healthier existence.

Here are a few of my suggestions on some of the things you can do right now (yes, right now!) to feel happier, more relaxed and confident in your abilities.

  1. Practice gratitude, or if that sounds corny, commit to practicing happiness. Every night while you’re lying awake in bed trying to fall asleep, think of three things that gave you joy during the day instead of fretting over the things you can’t control. Better still, write them in your journal.
  2. Drink more water. You drink less water in the wintertime which can contribute to feelings of sluggishness, inattentiveness and fatigue. Pour yourself a glass every time you have a coffee or tea and then marvel at how you can stay awake through a whole movie on Netflix.
  3. Smile more. If you start smiling every time you say hello, you’ll realize how much you don’t actually smile, which is sad because many people believe it’s actually good for you.
  4. Be okay with having a good cry once in awhile. We’re so focused on avoiding negative emotions that we forget that releasing them can actually feel good and dare I say it? Cathartic. Pretending you aren’t in a bad mood doesn’t make things easier so if you’re feeling it, let it out. Your reasons for feeling a certain way aren’t always reasonable but your emotions are there regardless and therefore still have validity. Embrace your melancholy, have a good cry, and then move on with your life.
  5. Stop being a flake. For some of you it may be hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t text someone last minute to bail on plans. During ye olden times if you ditched someone you’d be leaving them alone at a table in a restaurant or stranded at a bus stop. Friends don’t do that to friends right? Make a commitment to do something fun and do it. You may surprise yourself and actually have a good time.

What are some of the simple resolutions you’re trying to put in place this year? Tell us below, or email your strategies to keepingbusywithb@gmail.com.

In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.

10 Myths About Organizing

KBB_notebook_and_journalOrganizing is not about purging. I think a lot of people fear getting organized because they equate with parting ways with the things that they love. The opposite is totally true: organizing is about deciding what truly matters to you and cultivating a space filled with things you love and appreciate that contribute to your lifestyle.

Organizing is not about changing your system. It’s about improving your system so that it works better for you. ‘Nuff said.

Organizing is not about buying more gadgets. Just because your newly organized kitchen suddenly has space to house a new fancy juicer doesn’t mean it’s a reason to purchase a new fancy juicer. Sometimes a little blank space helps us to visually appreciate the things you already have. This, of course, does not apply if you were organizing your kitchen to make room for a fancy juicer (if fancy juice is indeed your thing).

Organizing is not about making over a space. Cosmetic changes to the aesthetic are one thing; a well-organized space is not only cosmetically pleasing because it’s clutter-free and carefully planned, it’s cosmically pleasing because it attributes to an easier workflow and a more enjoyable lifestyle.

Organizing is not about creating storage. I once had a client that I was helping move to a bigger space. She had talked about the transition for months; finally her boys were going to have enough space in their rooms for all of their toys. I agreed with her until I saw that each of her small children had bedrooms that rivaled the size of my apartment with giant, gorgeous built-ins along each wall. They were originally meant for toys; however, their new house came with a giant playroom in the basement where the kids spent most of their time. Empty cupboards meant that more clutter quickly accumulated and my client found herself in the middle of her original dilemma. It just goes to show that thoughtful editing and creative organizing are sometimes better solutions than creating more storage to house more things you don’t need or want.

Organizing is not about hiding things away. If you have cherished things that you love, display them! Do you relish looking at all of the piles of work you have to do? You’re a weirdo, but who cares? Leave them on your desk! Just as everyone has different tastes in décor, different people have a variety of organizing styles that lend themselves to a certain style or another. There’s no sense in changing your system just because you aspire to a certain look. (See Number 2.)

Organizing is not about upgrading. Just because you saw that super pretty double door fridge on Pinterest doesn’t mean you can’t organize the fridge you own currently. It’s great to have upgrading goals, but don’t use them as excuses to prevent yourself from improving your lifestyle before you improve your appliances or furniture.

Organizing is not about changing your habits. It’s about recognizing those habits and organizing your space to accommodate them. I’m normally a pretty neat person but as soon as I walk in the door I throw down my keys and they usually fall where they may. I’ve since left a pretty bowl on the shelf next to the door to collect all the shrapnel (like loose change and sunglasses) from my comings and goings throughout the day.

Organizing is not about making things pretty. Yes, organizing a room usually makes it pretty but you shouldn’t hold off on purging just because you don’t have a pretty box to put it in. Conversely, don’t fool yourself into thinking that buying even more pretty baskets and storage accessories will automatically make your space more organized- it can sometimes have the opposite effect.

Organizing is not about abundance. Giant craft rooms and majestic libraries are mouthwatering to look at, but aspiring to have these kinds of spaces can sometimes be unrealistic. I’d love to have drawers upon drawers of pretty pens or fancy baking supplies too, but having an organized space has allowed me to make peace with my reality and appreciate the things that I do have and love.

KBwB-Flower-50

I’ve got a flexible, highly personalized approach to my organizing that’s governed by these truths- now I want to know yours! Send them at me at keepingbusyb@gmail.com or comment below. Want to read more of my organizing thoughts? I’ve got a lot more that I’ve shared here.