If I had to make a resolution for 2013, I would resolve not to use my ironing board as a shelf anymore. For a period of time I thought I was doing pretty good because at least I wasn't using my vacuum as a hanger like a friend of mine was. The issue still remains though, that I don't want to use my ironing board this way. But simply saying I resolve not to do something isn't really helping me. Resolutions don't work because they address a symptom, not the problem. Why am I using my ironing board as a shelf in the first place? That's where I need to begin to make changes that are long-lasting, a lifestyle.
Three steps to take to make a resolution into a lifestyle.
1. Determine the heart of the matter. Whatever your resolution is, look deeper to discover the real issue and address that. The real issue with the ironing board is the evidence that I'm not making optimal choices with my time. I'm not taking a couple extra minutes to just put the clothes where they belong, because I don't have a couple extra minutes. My life has somehow gotten off track and the ironing board dilemma is just a symptom. Looking at the root cause will help me to make real changes that will give me the overall results I desire.
2. Make a plan. Resolutions typically don't get any traction because there's no plan associated with them. Once you look deeper and discover the real issue, you can make a real plan to address it. My plan is to form good habits around time using my priorities as a filter. Before I take on new responsibilities or say yes to an activity, I match it up against my priorities. If there isn't a fit, then I don't take it on.
3. Schedule time to evaluate, re-evaluate and adjust on a regular basis. It takes time to form a habit. So stop before you begin. Take note of the warning signs, the symptoms that show you are veering off track. Build time into your weekly schedule to review your progress for the week. What went well, what needs to be changed, is your life symptom-free? Taking the time to evaluate is essential and in the end gives you back time because it takes less time to evaluate than it does to fix!
Make 2013 your best year yet. Begin by making plans for long-term change versus resolutions. This time next year, my plan is to tell you that I never used my ironing board as a shelf once! (I know, aggressive).