Year after year, we count down the seconds until January 1 arrives, and we have such high hopes that the new year will be different. We promise ourselves we'll really stick with our resolutions, whether we want to eat better, hit the gym three times a week or get more organized.
But alas, old habits die hard. As Groundhog Day approaches, we've already gotten into the Oreos, thrown our workout gear into the back of the closet and lost another set of keys under the papers in the kitchen.
The good news is that you might not be to blame for failing to keep your resolutions. It might be all about the clutter! If that's the case, read on for some quick fixes to help you achieve five of the most popular New Year's resolutions.
1. Eat Healthier/Lose Weight
You would be willing to cook dinner more nights (forgoing expensive and unhealthy take-out), if only you could remember to defrost the meat before you leave for work, and if only you could find what you need in your pantry.
1.Clear the pantry out and refill the shelves by placing like items together, just as you'd find them grouped on the grocery store shelves.
2.Write out eight dinners you'd like to cook in the next 14 days. Get input from family members and flip through cookbooks and take-out menus for ideas.
3.Make a list of ingredients you'll need, then shop for them.
4.Finally, put your keys in the freezer near what needs to be defrosted. You'll never leave the house again without remembering to take out the frozen food.
You would be willing to use your treadmill, if only it weren't already being used as a portable clothes closet.
1.Unearth your exercise equipment by putting away the clothes hanging on it.
2.Locate your exercise clothes and give them a drawer, shelf or basket of their own.
3.Gather appropriate accessories, such as a water bottle and music.
4.Store everything you need for the day's workout in one place so you can easily grab it on the way to the gym or wherever you exercise.
3.Save More Money
You would be willing to put more money into a savings account, if only you hadn't spent so much on late fees, lost part of a refund because you couldn't find the receipt for a return or had to buy another calculator because you couldn't remember where you left the last one.
1.Choose one spot to keep bills to be paid, and add new bills as soon as they arrive in the mail. Designate certain times of the month for bill paying, or, better yet, set up auto-pay plans.
2.Shop from a list! Even if something's on sale, it's no bargain if you have no need or place for it.
3.Use a small accordion-style coupon holder for receipts. Label the tabs by the type of purchase (clothing, food), type of payment (Visa, debit) and name of store (Target, Macy's). At checkout, put the receipt into the correct slot, and it will still be there if you need to return something.
4.Make saving automatic by setting up a direct draft from your bank account. Pay yourself first, and then the rent or mortgage and other bills.
4.Have More Time
You would be able to spend more time with family and friends and more time doing things that interest you, if only you didn't spend so much time looking for lost items.
1.The average person wastes 90 minutes a day looking for lost or misplaced things. This is one area where we don't want to be above average! Reclaim a portion of lost time by getting some key areas organized.
2.Minimize morning mayhem by preparing the night before. Make lunch, defrost the next night's dinner, choose your outfit and accessories, charge your cell phone and check your calendar to make a short to-do list for the day.
3.Reduce the junk in your mailbox. Opt out of prescreened credit card offers by calling the Federal Trade Commission at 888-567-8688 or logging on to OptOutPrescreen.com. Then send a dated and signed letter to stop junk mail to DMA, Junk Mail, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643.
4.Live by the two-minute rule: If you can handle the task in two minutes or less, do it right away. For example, hang up your jacket instead of slinging it over a chair, sort the mail instead of putting it on the counter, or reply to an email (and then delete the original message!).
You'd be willing to get organized, if only you knew where to start.
1.Start small. Go for consistent, incremental changes instead of one major overhaul. Choose a visible space that you use often, such as a kitchen countertop.
2.Set a timer for 18 minutes, and work on that one small area for a focused block of time. When the bell rings, you're free to move on. Try to fit in at least 18 minutes once a week.
3.While working on an area, place like items together and put away what you truly use and love. Give away or toss the rest.
4.Once you have the space organized, spend a few minutes every day tidying it.
And remember: A resolution can be made at any time of the year. It doesn't have to be made on December 31. If you think you've fallen short already, simply clear some of the clutter standing between you and your goal, and jump back in. You can do this!