Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Ten Ways to Organize Your Time, Talents and Energy

Ten ways to get ready for change before the New Year.

I am always intrigued by humanity’s belief that at midnight on December 31st a new year will begin and life will be different. Not only will it be different a myriad number of changes are going to be made simultaneously. Have you been unable to stop smoking, lose weight, give up coffee or start exercising? No problem: now you can achieve success across the board. Why? Because it’s a New Year, silly! Gym memberships skyrocket. Diet foods and the plans that support them rake in billions. Cravings for drugs, cigarettes, coffee and even bad relationships are going to evaporate as the ball falls at Times Square. There’s just one problem. This is Magical Thinking.

You can of course make changes but in my experience it’s best to consider a few things before you start. I can race out now to my car and declare I’m going to drive home to New York City. I’m sure I’d make it although without extra clothing, maps or a workable plan of any sort the journey is likely to take longer, be more costly and have the fun sucked out of it in short order. But if I take the time to craft a plan then I can drive from Los Angeles to New York and plan my route with care. I’ll have fun, save money and decide when I will arrive. Why don’t you craft a plan for what you wish to experience in 2012? I’ve started making my plan and I’d love to have your company along the way.

Ten things for you to organize your time, talents and energy before you make your New Year’s Resolutions:

1. What do you want to change? Be specific.

Don’t just write down the same old/same old. Make a list of the things you really want to have in your life. Remember: there are no free lunches so make your list reflect things for which you are willing to work hard to achieve.

2. How did you get into trouble in this area of your life?

Just about everyone in America has some weight to lose and you may be in that majority. Did your weight gain happen suddenly or did the pounds creep on slowly? We live in a cause and effect world. To create a new effect it’s best to understand the causes we set in motion to create the situation we don’t find satisfactory. This makes us more powerful and in control.

3. What’s your motivation for change? Keep it realistic and personal.

Perhaps you want to lose weight for your upcoming high school reunion or to make your spouse happy? I suggest you do it for your health. Let those other considerations be positive by-products.

4. If you have multiple goals for the year which one should you tackle first?

Change is stressful and if you overload your emotions with the statement: “I am going to lose 25 pounds, stop smoking, give up caffeine and run a marathon” you may be defeated before you start. Build on your successes.

5. What are the steps you need to take to achieve success with your first goal? Please list them in the order in which they need to be accomplished. Weight is easy to consider because no matter how many fancy diets there are the bottom line is that you need to eat less and move more. But the question is what diet will you embrace and what form of exercise appeals to you? You have a little research to do before you begin. And weight is just my ‘go to’ example. The same applies to the desire to stop smoking or learn how to play an instrument or master a sport.

6. Will your family and friends be supportive? If your answer is ‘yes,’ how will that support manifest?

It’s best to know who is going to be in your corner and what their assistance will look like. Perhaps Uncle Sal who lost 50 pounds last year will take you to your first Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous meeting? Help looks different for all of us.

7. If you feel that family and friends are not in fact going to support you, how will you circumvent their criticism and still achieve success?

Probably the easiest solution is to be silent. Quietly set about doing the things you need to do to be successful and let your results speaks for themselves.

8. Is there anything you have to purchase? How much will it cost? Do you have the funds? If not, how will you raise them?

It’s best to face the financial facts before undertaking any endeavor. You’re free to dive in and do the work without getting sidetracked or sabotaged when you can’t afford the best step.

9. Do you need to do any research?

Where will your material be found? Can you do it on line in the privacy of your bedroom or do you have to schedule some time at the library or a friend’s house? Designating a work zone is important no matter what type of work you are doing. You’ll be able to get down to business and minimize distractions if you’re loyal to the same workspace and the same time.

10. Would you like to have a buddy?

Who else in your circle needs to make this change? The old saying is: “Misery loves company.” I say: “Positive change loves company even more!” I walk 3 miles every day but it’s always more fun with my walking buddy. For one thing she makes walk faster! Who is available to you?


As you might guess I think that an organized environment will be the biggest support you could ever wish for in your quest to change elements in your life like losing weight, stop smoking or creating any other positive change. Why? Because change is stressful and challenging even when it’s change we have elected to make. If your physical environments are nurturing, calm and reduce stress, you will feel comforted during the times of transition. My next article deals with way to jumpstart the organizing process. I’ll see you in 2012 ~ with your plan!

About the Author
Regina Leeds

Regina Leeds is a professional organizer and a New York Times best-selling author with eight books to her credit.

My website
More from Regina Leeds
More from Psychology Today
More from Regina Leeds
More from Psychology Today