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We all make resolutions for the New Year. Sometimes our goals are vague, with no end point, such as to lose weight or exercise more. We purchase a gym membership, go for a few sessions and then something comes up in our family. What do we cut? Another problem could be that the goal is so vague and so huge that there is little chance you will succeed!

We set ourselves up to fail with goals like these - be more organized, be more patient with the children or family, lose weight, take better care of myself, eat healthier – and the list goes on.   

You can start with that vague goal, but change it to make it “doable.” As an example, think about what the goal “Get Organized” means to you. Start small. What is bugging you the most? Is it the daily hunt for car keys? Is it the school papers in every room? Is the assortment of shoes/ sports equipment all over the house bugging you?

Make a list of the top three spots in the house that bother you the most about the disorganization. Then list who would be involved in the solution. You might solve the car key problem on your own, but the other areas would be a group effort. Choose one point to work on, and discuss it with everyone involved. You are more likely to be successful in addressing the problem if:

  • Everyone involved in the issue has a suggestion for the solution. 
  • The solution is simple. 
  • It does not take much time.
  • The solution can become part of a routine.

Continuing with the sports equipment problem, a possible solution is a laundry basket for each youngster in the garage. As the children get out of the car, the equipment, shoes, bag etc. get deposited in the basket. No one walks in the house with these items in their hand. On Friday evening, review the process. How did we do this week? Does a step in the process need to be tweaked? Is there a special treat for everyone because we all worked together this week? Give the process enough time to become a habit – at least 6 weeks. Then move to your next item on the “Get Organized” list.    

Making your resolutions more specific and attainable will boost your chances of success. Happy New Year!

Blogger Mary Ann Mulcahey, PhD, shares her expertise in assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and ADHD, and the social/emotional adjustment to those issues. If you have questions, please contact Mary Ann at mmulcahey@springer-ld.org.

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