It’s a New Year, yay! And a great opportunity to make a fresh start. I decided to make my first blog this year about habits, as it is the number one issue that many of the people I work with face. Once I have helped people to create systems in their home that are tailored specifically to them and the people they live with, it is down to them to create and work on new habits in order for the systems to work. But new habits can take time and effort to create and backsliding often happens. I hope that this blog inspires you to make change and create new habits this year!
1: How long does it take to create a new habit?
It takes 21 days to build a habit, doesn’t it? It’s the long-held belief of almost all people. This can vary for each person, their circumstances and each habit. Some habits are tricky to implement, while others are easier. My advice is to focus and commit to one specific habit for a month. By working on one habit at a time, it will be easier than trying to implement several habits at once. Take some time to think about which habit you would like to begin with – brain dumping onto paper can be helpful.
2: How do you create a new habit?
Have you ever heard of habit stacking? The phrase ‘habit stacking’ was coined by Wall Street Journal bestselling author S.J Scott. In his 2014 book ‘Habit Stacking’ he recommends that you “build routines around habits that don’t require effort”. He suggests that one of the best ways to build a new habit, is to determine a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new habit on top of it. For example:
Why does habit stacking work? Your current habits are already built into your brain. Some of them you do without even thinking about it, they have become second nature to you. By stacking your new habit on top of a current habit that is already created in your brain, it will be much more likely that you’ll stick to the new habit. Brainstorm a list of habits you already have and take some time to reflect on these. Then think about where your new habit can be stacked.
3: Be accountable
Have you ever heard of the ‘Hawthorne Effect’? It refers to the fact that people are more likely to follow through with a commitment when they are being observed (read more about it here….) You have probably experienced at least once in your life, that as soon as you talk to a friend about something you are going to give up or implement, you are instantly accountable. For a new habit to form, you need to be reminded constantly as you build that habit. So talk to a friend about your new habit! Let them know about your efforts and goals. Find someone who will challenge, engage and evoke a sense of accomplishment in you.
Building new habits can be tiring at times and it is important to celebrate our achievements, no matter how big or small. When we reward ourselves, it:
Take a moment to think about some rewards that will work for you. These can vary from small to big, depending on what you are trying to achieve. They don’t have to cost the earth and is ideal if it is something you really like and enjoy. Examples are: Go for a walk in nature, meet a friend for a coffee, buy yourself some flowers (one of my favourites!) listen to one of your favourite podcasts, read a chapter of your book, go to an art gallery, book a meal out with friends.
So there you have it. What new habit are you going to create today to make 2019 your best year yet?
It happens to most of us at one point in our lives, whether we like it or not. For many, it is a very overwhelming task that forces us to face our stuff. Now for those of us that have not faced our stuff on a regular basis, the thought of letting go of a lifetime of possessions is daunting and unthinkable. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I was recently interviewed by the NZ Woman’s weekly on this topic and I explained how it can be a great opportunity to celebrate and enjoy a fresh start in life. Today I’m going to share with you my top 5 tips on how this process can be made SO much easier.
#1 Live in the moment
Downsizing doesn’t mean that you will loose everything you own. Sure, you won’t be able to take every item you own with you – it is just not possible. It forces us to make many decisions which can be very difficult, depending on our circumstances. Taking only the things we truly love and use now and which add value to our lives, causes us to live in the present. And what a wonderful thing that is! Having only those items in our homes that make us feel good, are the ones to surround ourselves with. Not the ones that cause us to feel any kind of negative emotions, which is distracting to say the least. Viewing downsizing as a positive experience where we can pare back and be honest with ourselves is truly liberating.
#2 Plan well in advance
This is one of the biggest problems I see – people just don’t give themselves enough time to prepare in advance. And believe me, the process takes a lot longer than you think it will. The more things you own, the more time it will take to make decisions. And if your belongings have not been reviewed regularly, the harder it will be to make those decisions. The more organised you are prior to the big day, the less stress you (and family members) will encounter. If you are pushed for time, I recommend that you employ the services of a professional to help take the stress out of the process.
#3 Ask for help
One of the hardest things people struggle with is letting go of possessions. If it’s all too much and you are feeling overwhelmed, ask for help! Whether it’s from a family member, objective friend or professional, it’s okay to reach out if you are struggling at any point during the process. It is so much easier making decisions when you have a support buddy to help you and speeds the process along when you are feeling stuck.
#4 Ask the right questions
It is important to ask the right questions throughout this process. “ Do I love it?” “Do I use it?” “Does it add value to my life now?” are key questions to ask. Our situations change over time and items may no longer have the value they once had. We move on from things as we change as people – this is very natural and a part of life. Embrace who you are now and be honest with your decision making, remembering that you simply cannot take everything with you anyway.
#5 Capture your memories
There are so many memories behind our belongings. Most items in our homes have stories attached to them. I find that once the story has been told, it is easier to let go of the item. Take photos of treasured items and record their stories. These can be passed down through generations and the legacy lives on. Remember that our memories are inside us and will be with us forever. We don’t always need to keep the item to remember the experience, but having a photo triggers our memory and allows us to reminisce.
By following these tips, your downsizing experience can be a truely positive life change. You will most definitely go through many emotions as you face your belongings. But what might seem like an overwhelming task to begin with, can turn into a wonderful opportunity to create new memories and a new start in life!
Downsizing happens to all of us at LEAST once in our lives. It can be a stressful process, filled with overwhelm and anxiety and not knowing where to start is very common! In Peter Walsh’s latest book “Let it Go” he walks you through the feelings that you will experience and gives sound and practical tips and strategies that will help you to downsize without feeling stressed and to stay in control.
I recently chatted with Carly Flynn on Radio Live about Peter’s book and the benefits that you can gain from downsizing – you can listen in here:
“Let it Go will help you to identify your stuck points, make a solid plan that fits with your goals, and stick with it.” David Tolin, Phd.
Happy listening 🙂
No matter what space you organise, big or small, you will need to commit to a simple maintenance routine. If you don’t, your systems will potentially fall apart and all of your hard work to will go to waste! Here on Stuff I am sharing my 5 secrets on how to keep your home organised in both the short and long term and stay in control. (more…)
Doing laundry is not one of the most exciting tasks to do at the best of times, but let’s face it, it has to be done, whether we like it or not. An organised laundry that functions well will not only make your life easier, it will save you time and help you to get the job done efficiently and with ease. Featured on Stuff here are some smart solutions to help you keep on top of your laundry and to make this task a much more enjoyable one!
This is the fourth article of a series I am writing for Stuff Magazine 🙂
Often when I visit a client for the first time, the linen cupboard is one of those areas that they REALLY don’t want me to see. “Don’t open the door…..everything will fall out!” Does this sound familiar to you……? Has your linen cupboard seen better days? If this is the case, these 6 simple steps will help you to tame your linen cupboard once and for all.
Pop over to Stuff to read the full article and let me know what worked for you!
This is the third article of a series I am writing for Stuff Magazine 🙂
“Good question!” you say. I get asked this question on a daily basis and people often say “Oh……. you organise events do you?” Pretty much every time. After some time of being asked this question and seeing the look of confusion on peoples faces, I felt compelled to set the record straight!
Christmas always comes at the same time of year but why does it always seem to sneak up on us? Work often gets crazy with deadlines and events in the evenings, the traffic is a nightmare (for all of us city dwellers) and there’s a feeling of slight “Craziness” in the air, that can lead to stress and feeling overwhelmed with it all, before it has even begun. Arming yourself with these simple strategies will help towards a stress free holiday season, so that you can have fun and enjoy yourself even more……