How To Begin To Get Organized and Get Out Of Debt
It’s almost New Years Day and many of us are already starting to think about making resolutions. Most resolutions sound something like: “I’m going to eat healthy and lose weight“, “I’m going to get out of debt” or “I’m going to get organized.”
These are great things to WANT to do but I’m afraid that about 90% of us won’t keep these resolutions. Here are a couple of things to think about that will hopefully give you greater success in keeping your resolutions.
I can’t, in this one sitting, give you all the details about how to handle every situation but I can give you some things to think about that will help you in all of these areas. Then for more details check out LivingOnADime.com, or our e-books to help you in each specific area and to give you practical ways on how to accomplish what you want to do.
It helps to understand why we do the things we do. Most of us want to lose weight and eat healthy on New Year’s Day because we have just spent the past month gorging ourselves so that we now feel bloated and sick and can’t fit into our clothes anymore. Like a pendulum that swings from one extreme to another, we think that the answer is to eat carrot sticks for the rest of our lives. That usually lasts about 3 days and then we give up.
The same applies to the idea of getting out of debt. Most of us have just spent the past few weeks spending more money than we had planned and now we feel guilty. We’re determined that we are not going to spend a penny on anything. Then we will panic every time we have to buy something like food or gas because the price is so high.
Then there is the thought of getting organized. Right now you are probably surrounded by a Christmas tree and decorations that are starting to accumulate a thin layer of dust, which is giving a dingy look to everything. The once bright and cheery look of the Christmas lights have dulled. The candles on the mantle have burned down to nubs and look more like they belong in a haunted house or in a horror movie.
There is leftover wrapping paper strewn here and there. Piles of Christmas dinner platters and dishes sit on every counter. You close your eyes every time you open the fridge so you don’t have to look at the piles of leftovers inside it. Then there are all the mounds of new toys, clothes and gifts. How do you stuff them into the already full closet? No wonder you have the urge to clean and get organized. You wonder, “Where do I even start?” Getting organized is a way to give yourself a fresh start.
As I’ve said before, too much of even a good thing can make us sick and frustrated.
Here’s my point: You can get organized and do everything you resolve to do, but you need to pace yourself. It’s like running a long distance marathon. You don’t just shoot out of the starting line going as fast and hard as you can. You will never make the distance that way, so you pace yourself. In the same way, pace yourself in everything and do a small amount at a time, breaking things into manageable pieces.
Have a plan, whether it is writing menus for good balanced meals for each week, making a budget or, even more important, being bold enough to write down and acknowledge what your debts are. Make a plan. Plan where to cut your spending or to start to get organized, try making a list of 1-2 areas of your home you are going to organize each day.
Next prepare. When you are preparing for a race, you would ask yourself, “Do I have the right shoes”, “Are there water stations?”, “Have I slowly worked my muscles into shape?”, “Am I prepared for some pain?” and “When it hits, will I not be afraid of it but keep going in spite of the discomfort?” In the same way, you may have to spend some time preparing things like planning good meals, balancing your checkbook or making sure you have cleaning supplies and boxes for when you start to get organized.
One thing you must remember – discouragement and a sense of being overwhelmed will hit most of us once we start. Pacing will help but it is especially important to have a plan and be prepared when discouragement sets in so you can overcome it and keep going. Here are some things to think about when you start feeling discouraged:
Have you ever looked up the definition of resolution? I did. It means to have firm determination, to be bold and steady and to reduce something to a simpler form. You need to be steady and pace yourself. Little by little and piece by piece, reduce your mess to something simpler and more manageable. You can’t accomplish any of it in a week or two. You took a long time to make the mess and you may have to take just as long to clean it up but like the tortoise in the tortoise and the hare, keep a slow but steady pace and you will win the race and succeed.
Lastly, get up and do it. Stop blaming everyone and making excuses. You won’t even get out of the starting gate if you spend all your time standing there telling everyone why you can’t run. Even if you have a real excuse for not running then at least start taking baby steps and walk. You’ll at least be getting somewhere but if you just stand bemoaning your lot in life and how miserable the world is in these hard economic times, you will get nowhere.
You may fall (or eat that piece of chocolate cake, spend more than you should have or leave dirty dishes in the sink one day) but pick yourself up, brush yourself off and keep going. The only thing that will keep you from getting there is if you stop (quit and give up), so keep at it.
We will try to do the same and keep plugging along with ideas on how to accomplish all of the above. Now I must quit because I have a messy room that I really need to deal with today! : ) : )
For more help with organizing, cleaning and laundry, take a look at our Keeping It Clean e-books.