If you’re a person who has a history of disorganization, you’ve probably had your share of putting yourself down for it. When you’re late (that’s just a habit), you’re embarrassed and you set yourself up for dirty looks and eye rolls from those who’ve had to wait for you or maybe your lack of time awareness has caused you to miss the last flight out, or the buss to someplace you wanted to be. When you trip in the dark over stuff you left out in the light (that’s just a habit), it can mean a trip to the ER and a self-condemning sermon all the way to the hospital. When you run out of gas (that’s just a habit) and you’re late to work, you pour more gas on your talent for beating yourself up than you put in your car’s tank.
When you bump up against something caused by your disorganized habits, ask yourself what baby step you might take so this bump can get smaller and smaller and in time, disappear? Get yourself into the 21-Day Game. Pick one thing to do for 21 days remembering you’ve got all the time in the world to change anything you want to change. (The 21 days is just a segment of time in which a habit is established.) Don’t put pressure on yourself. This is just a game you’re going to play. There’s no contest here. You don’t need to prove your worth to anyone. You’re reason to change something is so that you’ll feel good because of it.
Bury the Hatchet
When it comes to getting organized, the real starting place is to make amends with you. You have to bury the psychological hatchet you’ve been holding over you for all your past misdemeanors. Give yourself a break! You’re the only one who can do it, and all it takes is an apology. Tell yourself:
I’m sorry I’ve been so mean to you when things are disorganized. You are my best friend and I love you so much. I love how much I do in spite of being disorganized. Look how beautiful the yard is! I’m a great cook and I don’t waste food. I’m doing so much right and everything is fine. I want to be more organized and I’d like to start by going to bed every night for the next 21 days at 9:30 at the latest. That’s all. Just a plan that will give me more rest for 21 days.
Going to bed at a regular time may not be the activity you choose to do for the 21- Day Game (it’s a good one if you’re not getting your rest) instead, it may be to shine your sink, make your bed, floss, walk for 30 minutes, get dressed before breakfast instead of before lunch or dinner, meditate for 20 minutes—you pick what feels right and do it. But pick something now.
Think of the habit you’ve picked as if it were a sunflower seed you’re planting in a pretty pot. When you’re actually doing the activity you picked to do for 21 days, think of that activity as watering and caring for the seed. The fertilizer for the seed will come in the form of how kind and positive you treat yourself in those 21 days. The kinder you are to you, the sooner your seed will grow into a full blossom called a habit. If you know anything about gardening, fertilizer is a must to a beautiful garden. If you know anything about YOU, you know that you thrive on kindness.
Recently I heard a spiritual teacher say, “When you compliment someone and thank that person for something, your appreciation for him/her has an effect on you.” It works no matter who you appreciate or compliment, so you may as well include you in your appreciation, along with others. Praise yourself throughout each day (fertilizer) you do the activity you’ve chosen for the 21-Day Game.
Please let me know how you’re doing and whether I can share your thoughts with others. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more from Pam Young go to www.cluborganized.com. You’ll find many musings, videos of Pam in the kitchen preparing delicious meals, videos on how to get organized, lose weight and get your finances in order, all from a reformed SLOB’s point of view. Pam’s books are also available on Amazon.