31 Days of Self-Congratulations

It's New Year's again and all the magazines and newspapers are talking about New Year's Resolutions, those daggum lists that are supposed to magically fix all that's wrong with us. Now, I've got nothing against goal setting. Heck, I THRIVE on setting and reaching my goals. But how about we try something a little different this year?

My good friend and founder of Hatch life coach program, Melissa Grossman, has come up with a cool alternative to New Year's resolutions that is life-affirming instead of self-hating. She's "triple-dog daring" us throw out those resolutions and, instead, make a list of the good stuff from 2007. Instead of making promises to ourselves that we probably won't keep anyway, she's proposing that we highlight the positive things we accomplished during the past 12 months.

Here's how it works. Go to her blog, 31 Days of Self-Congratulations, and name 31 positive things about yourself, one for each of the 31 days of January. You can post a new accomplishment every day or, if you think you may have a hard time posting daily, you can post your whole list of 31 at once by using the "Share your 31" link at the top of the blog. Feel free to name something as small as helping a kitten out of a tree or as big as having the guts to start a new business.

I decided to take this challenge and am going to try and post everyday. I've already got my list made out and, let me tell you, it was fun to write. At first I had a hard time remembering enough good deeds and accomplishments from 2007. But the more areas of my life I considered, the easier it got. I think I'm going to enjoy this challenge a lot more than trying to give up dessert and cussing (as if!).

Now, you're not going to back down from a triple-dog dare, are you? Head on over to 31 Days of Self-Congratulations and don't be modest. I'm sure you can come up with at least 31 good deeds and positive attributes for yourself. While your at it, check out the site for Hatch, Melissa's one-to-one coaching services. She's a heck of a Life Coach and, if you're a single gal or a freelancer, she'll help you add to your self-congrats list for 2008!

Maintenance Coaching

I had a delightful conversation with a client this weekend. We've been working together to organize her entire home and are very close to completion. She told me that she felt that she was "slipping" in some areas and wondered if I could give her some tips to help her maintain the progress she has made. I suggested that, in our next session, we could look at the areas that are becoming cluttered again, and I could coach her on some tips and new habits that would help in the problem areas.

"Yes! Coaching is exactly what I need. " she said. "Like, you could remind me that, if I would just spend ten minutes per day picking up after myself, I could avoid spending an hour doing it over the weekend. "

I giggled and said, "I believe you just coached yourself! The next time you find yourself falling into your old disorganized habits, remember that 10-minute rule."

You see, the secret to maintaining an organized house and office, is creating new habits. For example, after you have decided on a home for an item, put it back in its home every time you have finished using it. Or always put your keys in the same place when you arrive home. And my personal favorite, always take the mail to your bill-paying zone and sort it immediately into Trash/Shred/Bill/Read piles.

Heck, if you simply did a quick before-bed walk through of your home, picking up "homeless" items and putting them away, clearing out and wiping down the kitchen sink (my favorite FlyLady suggestion), and hanging up or tossing clothes into the hamper, you'd easily and quickly improve the calm, clean, orderly state of your home.

And if you have children, make a chores list and monitor that the chores are done regularly. Help teach them, through your example, good organizing habits that will serve them in school as well as the rest of their lives.

Trust that little voice in your head to remind you of the habits that will keep you on track. Push laziness aside in favor of results. Know that you will feel so much better if you "just do it" than if you keep stepping over clutter or piling unsorted mail on every flat surface of your home.

You, and only you, have control over your personal habits and the results that these habits reap. Make those results positive!

What habits have you found to be effective in maintaining order in the house?

Make Your Holidays Less Stressful

Remember when you were ten years old and the holidays were exciting and FUN? I loved the decorations, the smell of the Christmas tree in the house, the family feasts, and the possibility of getting of tons-o-toys.

Then the older I got, the more stressful and less merry the holidays became. For several years, I even dreaded December a little because my schedule became insanely busy, my bank account got smaller, and my waistline got bigger.

Hmmm, interesting that a few years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer just two days before Christmas, no? Maybe there is something to that "stress causes illness" theory. Well, after beating cancer, I decided to stop the madness, simplify things, and make some changes that would help bring some sanity back to my holiday season. Here's what I've done over the years:

1. I stopped decorating the house if I wasn't in the mood or didn't have time to do it. This has resulted in me pulling out our cute little aluminum tree and retro decorations about every other year. Though he enjoys it when I decorate, my husband has ZERO interest in helping me do it, so I only do it if and when the mood strikes me. I find I can just as easily be filled with the holiday spirit by enjoying everyone else's decorations.

2. My circle of fabulous girlfriends and I decided to stop buying one another Christmas gifts since we all live in relatively small houses, and we all have most everything we need. Instead, we just enjoy one another's company at the Christmas party that one of the gals throws every year. This has saved all of us a boatload of money, time, and space.

3. Speaking of parties, I stopped saying yes to every single social invitation that comes up in November and December. By protecting my personal/sweetie time during these weeks, I find that I'm more relaxed, centered, and rejuvenated.

4. I try REALLY hard to eat more veggies, drink more water, exercise more regularly, and only nibble on all of the yummy treats that pop up all season long. I'm never going to "just say no" to holiday goodies. But I do try to minimize the damage but nibbling instead of binging. I also have found that I feel a heck of a lot better if I limit my party libations to just one adult beverage.

5. I focus on the positive things in my life like my good health, my supportive family, my wonderful friends, my sweet little dog Ruby Pearl, and my growing organizing business. I also start brainstorming, planning, and visualizing for prosperity in the following year.

6. I make sure I set aside some time and money to give back either in my neighborhood or by volunteering through my business. It's true that when we give, we truly receive.

Now, if I could only talk my husband into taking care of all the Christmas cards this year.

How have you simplified and de-stressed your holiday season? I'd love for you to leave us a comment letting us know!