I have always thought of myself as an organized person, but I am beginning to wonder if I may have completely missed the boat with that assumption.
Yes, I like my house to be clean. A chaotic environment stresses me out, but it is usually more picked up than clean. There is a big difference. And if you look inside my purse, for instance, the word organized will not be the first one that comes to your mind. I can promise you that. (Think black hole…)
The thing that really blows the whole organized persona out of the water for me is that I HATE planning. With a passion. I have tried to make a planner work for me more times than I can count, because that is what organized people who have it all together do. But I just can’t do it.
I stare at the blank calendars and pages meant for scheduling and goal-setting like they are in a foreign language, having no idea what to write. When I finally do come up with a list of goals and tasks, (which is no small feat, I assure you) I never stick to them because I often change my approach midway, and a firm plan feels rigid to the point of suffocating. To feel at ease, I simply must allow things to take shape as they will, with guidance from my principles and big picture mentality – not rules, regulations, or firm guidelines.
Not only that, but I HATE to-do lists. They feel stifling. I cannot even stick to a weekly meal plan because I regularly decide to make whatever sounds good at the moment, regardless of whether or not it is on my pre-planned menu. When I write, I never use an outline because I want to go wherever my thoughts take me, and where I end up is usually a surprise, even to me. I often invite people over to my house for dinner an hour before mealtime, and routinely plan things on the fly. The bottom line is that my life is governed by spontaneity and flexibility more often than not, which is surely not the mark of a structured individual.
Perhaps that is why I have always dreaded New Year’s resolutions. They are far too structured. For years, I dutifully sat down to plan out my goals for the year, determined to overcome all of my weaknesses and implement good habits to replace them, all within the course of 12 months. The problem was that I never accomplished what I set out to do because it was simply too rigid and too overwhelming. After a couple of weeks, I was done trying.
I have since realized that I accomplish so much more when my goals are based on a big picture rather than a long list or a step by step process. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, focusing on a single word or idea that I work on throughout the year is far more manageable than a list of specific goals. When I do that, I usually feel like I have accomplished something at the end of the year, rather than looking at my long list of goals and feeling like a failure because I gave up early in the year.
For instance, my word for 2015 was Simplify. I did not have a list of specific tasks that I wanted to accomplish, but simplification was always in the back of my mind. When I made decisions, I tried to look at them through the lens of simplicity. With that mentality, I made great strides. I still have some ground to cover before I am where I want to be, but the overall progress was huge.
I will be sharing my word for 2016 next week. Until then, if you, like me, quickly get overwhelmed when trying to set New Year’s resolutions, you might want to consider the one word approach for this coming year. It is life changing!