Start the Year off Right

Starting 2012 off right is a great way to ensure you catapult yourself back into the daily grind with the will and the power to make a difference. Here are some simple changes you can make to start the new year with a bang and help yourself achieve your professional and personal goals for 2012.

Get a diary.

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It sounds so boring and dreary, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has bought countless diaries and never used them. But a couple of years ago I began to use a page-a-day diary in my capacity as a customer service representative, and suddenly my deadlines were not only easy to understand but also far easier to achieve! But be careful to use it right; you want to carry this diary along and write in absolutely everything you need to do; if you have a weekly cleaning rotation, write it into every day. Wednesday: clean kitchen, for example. If you have long-term deadlines such as projects that are set a few months in advance, take the time to write in median goals, so that each week you know what you need to do. A good way to do this is by updating your week’s diary pages every Sunday, and writing your project’s name into every Sunday, so you can assess what needs to be done each week and update your coming week accordingly.

Be clear as to what you want to achieve.

What is it you want to do in 2012? Do you want to lose a stone? Achieve a promotion at work? Resolve a long-standing family dispute or learn to cope with anxiety? Knowing what your goals are is an immense first step towards achieving them, and putting them in plain words can help them seem less intimidating, too. Write down all your goals and have a bit of a think as to how you can achieve them all. Losing weight could start with joining a weight-loss club or buying a bicycle. Updating your business wardrobe could be the first step to that long-awaited promotion. By putting things in simple terms, rather than vague notions, you give yourself the tools to achieve them – or to understand that certain things, like a family dispute that started between two different people, are not within your power to resolve. Either way, you can let it go calmly and know you’ve done everything you could.

Have a household routine.

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Sit down before you go back to work and look at your house. Odds are, it isn’t particularly huge and isn’t inhabited by hippos. And yet somehow, if your house is anything like mine, you often end up feeling swamped by the mess and the clutter. A plan of action can really help, and can free up more time for things you want to be doing, such as riding that bicycle, reading more books, or learning to cook! Have a morning routine that allows you half an hour’s time to straighten up the kitchen and get things ready for the evening meal (taking meat out of the freezer and ensuring the right pots and pans are in the dishwasher, for example) will make things a lot easier on you in the evening, and may well help you feel more accomplished during the day. In the evening, dedicate some time to a room or set of rooms each day; Monday could be for bathrooms, Tuesday for bedrooms, Wednesday for a deep-clean of the kitchen and Thursday for the hallways, for example. This allows you a clearly defined stopping point and stops your housework from overwhelming you, even as it allows you to keep on top of it! Be sure to arrange for a day off once or twice per week (for me, those are Saturday and Sunday, when only the most pressing matters are cared-for) so you don’t feel you’re always cleaning.

These three steps are truly small changes to your life… But they can make it a lot easier for you to retain a sense of control over your days throughout 2012 and build habits that will continue to help you achieve your dreams year on year. Happy new year!

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