January is National Organization Month – so don’t sweat it if you haven’t quite nailed down your New Year’s resolutions, we’ve got a whole month to get your goals in order and enjoy the promise of the new year.
This time of year can be tricky and you may feel a lot of pressure when it comes to taking stock of different areas of your life and what you have accomplished or failed to accomplish in the past year.
As a recovering overcomer who spent most of 2022 stuck in cycles of burnout and anxiety, I’ve learned that practicing self-compassion should always be a priority.
There is certainly a culture that romanticizes working hard, being super productive, and excelling at school or work—often at the expense of our mental or physical health.
You can’t pour from an empty cup, so try not to beat yourself up if last year didn’t go as planned or if you didn’t accomplish all the goals you wanted to.
To get started with a healthy mindset about organizing, take a moment to acknowledge yourself and your goals and celebrate what makes you happy.
Maybe take a run by the beach at sunset before writing down some general goals for the year until the endorphins kick in. Maybe cozy up, light a candle and put on some music while you make a list of your favorite ways to take care of yourself this year.
Once you are calm and focused, here are some ideas to try to organize!
Determine and commit to a planning systemDetermining a planning system that works for you and your lifestyle is a helpful first step. Using a planner to help you map out your time in monthly, weekly, and daily chunks can make a huge difference in your productivity. If you’re a visual learner, it can feel like a stress reliever just to see your time mapped out in an easy-to-follow way.
Take your time to find a planner that works for you – there are options that range from undated or academic calendars, and planner layouts vary widely.
Think about your goals for using the planner: do you want to keep a closer eye on your budget and financial planning? Want to break down your goals into actionable, daily steps? Or is meeting management your priority?
Whatever your preference, a quick Google search using some keywords will likely bring up dozens of results. If you want to shop locally, check out Coffee & Manifest at Agana Mall or Sadie Ann Art.
One of my personal favorites is the Passion Planner, which can be ordered online (you can also request a digital sample to see if the layout works for you). I really like the way the planner has space for monthly reflections (which is a combination planner and diary/journal), but the real highlight is the Passion Roadmap feature, which invites you to write down your goals for 3 months, one year. , three years and lifetime chunks of thinking about incremental “game changes” to help you achieve your goals.
Create a list of inputs and outputsIt’s a trendy internet thing, but it’s pretty fun to try it out for yourself. Make a list of what is “out” for this year, i.e. habits or practices you want to let go of, and what is “in” – habits or things you want to bring with you into the new year. This can be as simple or as deep as you like, but it’s helpful to quickly jot down the first things that come to mind to get in touch with your intuition.
If you’re having trouble focusing or if setting goals seems too overwhelming, this exercise can help you identify some of the simple things you’d like to get rid of during the year.
Once you’ve identified your list of inputs and outputs, you can journal or break down your goals into steps ala Passion Planner. This can also be fun to try with a group of friends during game night or happy hour!
Exercise responsibilitySetting goals is fine, but who’s going to send you that text to reassure you that you actually made it to the gym that morning? Practicing accountability is key to meeting your goals and can help you determine if your goals are realistic (ie, do they allow you to prioritize your mental and physical health?).
Try to find a friend to keep you on track. My boyfriend and I are in high school right now, and the challenging path to getting a doctorate requires both discipline and patience. It’s helpful to check in with each other weekly and daily to set your goals.
It’s just as important to have an accountability buddy who can be honest with you when you need to relax, step back, and celebrate how far you’ve come.