Setting goals and staying motivated to complete those goals can be quite difficult. Distractions, loss of focus, getting tired, becoming discouraged – and so many more emotions, feelings, and interruptions can stall you from completing a project. It can be easy to lose momentum during an organizing project. Helping your kids clearly define and set goal(s), and then stay motivated to complete their goal(s) can be especially challenging. Don’t worry! One of the things we love about helping our clients is coming alongside them and supporting them and theirs in accomplishing the goals that they set. Here are some tips for setting goals and staying motivated! Yes, we have special tips for working with kids as well!
Write Down Your Goals
Write your goals down for your project and keep them where you will be able to easily read them. You can even tape them to a wall close to your project. When you start to lose steam or encounter a hiccup, seeing your goals will remind you of why you started this project. We also encourage you to go a little deeper and determine the vision while writing down your goals. If you want to declutter your entryway, envision what you want your entryway to look like and feel like (and even smell like) when you walk in the door after a long day or welcome friends and family into your home. It is so easy to become distracted or start to get frustrated when you get into the middle of a project. Writing down these specifics will remind you of your goals and help you stick with them.
Kid Tip: Spend some time going over the goal(s) with your kids. Really help them to understand what the project is, all that is involved in working on the task, and the steps needed to complete the goal. They need to be clear on the project and process of completing the set goal.
Stay motivated by sharing your goals with an accountability partner.
An accountability partner can be so helpful as an external motivator to cheer you on and support you with setting goals and staying motivated. Communicating your goals with someone else can, in itself, be a form of accountability. Knowing that this person knows what you plan to do will help you stay motivated to reach your end goal.
Kid Tip: If you are working with your child then you are the accountability partner. The level of guidance that your child needs depends upon their physical and emotional development and maturity. Whether it is racing against a timer, pointing out the progress, helping guide your child to keep them on track, or calling out a snack break, you have to find what works best to help your child stay focused and motivated to finish the task.
Choose a mantra to pick you up if you start to lose steam.
What word or phrase motivates you and gets you going? You want to choose something that helps you with setting goals and staying motivated. When you choose this, have it ready to go – maybe even in real large print where you know you can see it. Is your goal to declutter a specific area and you know that letting things go is hard for you? This is exactly where one of our clients found herself. She had a lot of decisions ahead of her and came up with the mantra: “When in doubt, there is no doubt.” She had a lot of success while decluttering using this mantra. Saying this to herself helped her to let things go when there was doubt on whether to keep or let go.
Kid Tip: This really does depend on what works best for your child. If your kid is encouraged by working towards a reward, you can always print off that reward and hang it where it can be seen as you work towards completing the goal. You can keep referencing it and reminding yourselves that you are working towards an anticipated reward upon the completion of a task.
Pay attention to the environment-especially with kids.
This one is especially important if you are working on a task or project with kids. Whatever task you are working with them to complete, try to ensure that their work space is very clean and organized. Obviously this might be a little difficult if you are decluttering and organizing the playroom, but cut down on the distractions as much as possible. Especially if it is a homework project or organizing a specific area, try to have the surrounding environment one with as little clutter and distractions as possible. This allows all their mental and physical energy to be focused on the goal that has been set.
Play energizing music.
Music has an amazing way of setting the mood. It can turn any organizing project into a really good time. Do you like music that gets you going and energized and ready to move? Or do you prefer music that helps you to concentrate and focus on the decision making process? Organizing should be fun! Just ask any of our professional organizers. We love to listen to music while we organize and have quite a wide range of favorite genres.
Kid Tip: One professional organizer really likes to set the mood while working with her children. If it is a homework project, she likes to play classical music, but if it’s a creative project, it’s musicals all the way. She says that music helps to keep them all focused.
Schedule breaks with a beginning and end time.
We highly recommend taking breaks from your organizing project. Breaks are important to staying motivated and finishing a project. As James Clear writes in his book, Atomic Habits, “The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom”. Stepping away gives you the ability to come back with fresh eyes for your work. It can sometimes be tempting to keep going and take no break at all, or to not come back from a break. In order to keep you on track and get you time to gain fresh perspective, plan your breaks into your day with specific beginning and end times. This gives your project structure and helps you to gauge your progress. Don’t forget to properly hydrate and grab food to keep your energy and focus going as well.
Kid Tip: Snacks can be quite motivating and provide the nourishment to keep going! Schedule snack breaks and use these times to rejuvenate, refocus, and reward everyone involved. Don’t forget to drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated!
You can do anything for a minute or five minutes. Alarms can work wonders in helping you push through a slump or helping you stay motivated and on task. Racing the clock can help keep you focused on the task at hand. Setting alarms for break times is also great to hold you accountable so that you get those breaks in and also don’t take too long of a break. Alarms can be such a great tool for staying motivated and making it fun.
Kid Tip: Working against the clock can be fun and motivating for kids. It is like a great big race to try to complete the task before the alarm buzzes. One of our professional organizers recommends using songs this way. Set the end of the song as the end of the work period and use this as motivation to work really hard until the end of the song.
Ask your accountability partner to check in on you periodically.
Oh yes…this is where your accountability partner comes back for a check-in! You can do this however works best for you and in whatever time span will be most helpful to you. Check-ins can always be in person, over the phone, or a mixture of both. If you have asked your accountability partner to check in on you, then you probably already know that with the check in will come support, encouragement, and maybe a little gentle nudge depending on what you need. This can also just be so much fun to be able to have someone else walking alongside you to be your cheerleader.
Kid Tip: If your child is older, they will probably be able to complete more tasks without you there. However, if your child is on the younger side, they may only be able to complete one step of working towards the goal without further direction towards the next step. Your child may also need you to complete each step along the process. Clear and concise tasks are always best with kids so that they can work within their boundaries and feel successful as they gain confidence and momentum working towards the completion of their goal.
Compare before and after photos.
Don’t forget to take the before photos! It is very easy to quickly forget about the progress you are making. It is so easy these days with the technology of phones to keep before photos easily accessible to reference if you are feeling like you are not making progress with your project. One look at those before photos and you can be reinvigorated to keep going. Take after photos, too. This will help you in your future organizing projects to have the confidence to know that you have indeed been successful and will be again on the next project.
Acknowledge small progress benchmarks.
Some of us do not have large chunks of time to devote to projects, but still want to start chipping away at decluttering and organizing. Others can tackle big projects all at once. For either scenario, it is important to take the time to see the great stride that is being taken. In order to do this, don’t forget to take your breaks and get those before photos. A great time to see the progress is when you are ready to take a break or have come back from a break. You need these acknowledgements to keep you motivated to the end – you should be really proud! If you have an accountability partner, make sure you are sharing these small progress benchmarks. They are actually a really big deal!
Plan a reward for accomplishing your goals!
This is such a fun way to celebrate your hard work! The rewards can be anything and everything. What will be motivating for you to work towards? We have had clients reward themselves with everything from a trip to the spa, a nice dinner out, their favorite chocolate or wine, or even an outing. Maybe a bath speaks volumes to you or maybe you will do anything for your favorite chocolate. Have fun with this and celebrate when you accomplish your goals!
Kid Tip: While you do want the completion of the goal to be a reward within itself, find something that will motivate your child! Maybe it is a sticker chart for every 15 minutes that they stay focused on completing a homework assignment, or maybe it is a trip to the Children’s Museum of Richmond after they go through their fall wardrobe with you.
We would love to hear from you if you try out any of these tips or have other ones to share for setting goals and staying motivated! Maybe you have found something that really helps your child stay focused? We want to hear! Share it in our Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook. Here’s to setting goals and finishing what we start this year!