Creating a plan to achieve your 2010 resolutions

Now that you have brainstormed resolutions for 2010, it’s time to formulate your plan for achieving these resolutions in the new year. As I’ve noted before, it’s easy to write “Be more organized” on a sheet of paper — but it’s difficult to actually become more organized without a plan for how to do it.

Your next step may be to research your resolutions. How do the already uncluttered plan meals with little or no stress? How do they get their laundry washed before it explodes out of the laundry basket? How do they stay on top of e-mail? How do they file papers so that their inboxes don’t look like mountains?

Another thing to keep in mind as you’re starting to put together your plan is the weight-loss study we discussed on the site in October about it taking 12 weeks for most people to establish a new routine:

… participants gave a figure for how long it had taken to develop habits and the mean was 3.0 months (s.d. 1.8).

As a result of the findings in this study, I’m going to tackle my resolutions on the quarter system this year: introduce two in January, another two in April, two more in July, and the final two in October. My first two resolutions are both focused on gaining more energy (going to bed every night by 10:00 p.m. and exercising in some form every day), so that I can be ready to take on the more difficult tasks planned for the subsequent quarters. When I’m tired, I lack motivation, and motivation is a key factor in achieving resolutions.

The final task in creating your plan of action is to follow the steps we outlined in the post “Making your resolutions a reality.” These five actions are essential if you really want to achieve your resolutions.

Are you looking forward to the end of this decade and the start of 2010? I’ll admit, I’m a little sad to see 2009 come to a close. This year I wrote Unclutter Your Life in One Week and my husband and I adopted a baby. It’s going to be difficult to top this year full of so many blessings. However, with my plan of action in place to achieve my 2010 resolutions, I’m sure it will be fine. Good luck to all of you as you formulate your personal plans.

20 Comments for “Creating a plan to achieve your 2010 resolutions”

  1. posted by Another Deb on

    I am glad to hear someone finally admit that they had a good year in 2009, and knowing Erin’s story, I can see why! Congratulations again.

    I am not so much glad that 2009 is ended, I just generally like the beginning of a new year for the “clean slate effect”. Although, as a teacher, my year goes from August-August, I like the jump-start that I get in January.

    The idea of integrating the resolutions in pairs once each quarter sounds great! That also would fit with my school seasonal changes. I can incorporate something in January, more at Spring Break, then as summer begins and lastly, when school starts again. This idea is tailor-made for seasonal and time-commitment changes I experience through the year, I love it!

    By scheduling resolutions to kick-in during the whole year, you also get reminded of any that are not yet integrated and can refocus your efforts or revise your strategy.

  2. posted by paula b on

    If it makes you or any of your readers feel better about seeing the decade come to a close, the first decade of this new millennium doesn’t really end until Dec. 31, 2010, no matter how inundated we are with “end of the decade” discussions. Look at it this way: when we count 10 objects, we start with 1 and end with 10. So, when we count the years in a decade, we start with XX01 and end with XX10. Others will argue this point (those who believe the new millennium began on Jan. 1 of 2000 rather than 2001) but I am just sharing my understanding. None of this changes the need to formulate resolutions and plans for the new year. May our uncluttering efforts make this a better year for all, no matter which decade we’re in.

  3. posted by Plain Good Sense on

    I like your two resolutions for gaining more energy. My husband and I have consistently found that if we are having a difficult time sleeping for a night or two, it is almost invariable because we haven’t gotten enough exercise that week. The exercise helps with stress, gives you more energy during the day, and makes you feel more tired at night so you can sleep well and wake up refreshed! It’s funny how we have such a difficult time exercising when the benefits are so obvious….but I struggle with it as much as the next person! Best of luck with your attempts to gain more energy!

  4. posted by Carrie @ Make Mine Happen on

    There are a lot of resolution challenges out there, too. I feel that the additional aspect of accountability removes the temptation to “adjust” your resolutions midyear if you haven’t accomplished them AND the temptation to feel guilt if you don’t accomplish them 100%. Engaged Marriage has an Improve Yourself 2010 and Gretchin Rubin @ Happiness Project has one (both are discussed the website linked here). I’d LOVE to see a 2010 Unclutterer challenge. :)

  5. posted by Delores on

    I haven’t tried phasing my resolutions. But the last two years I have had success with breaking each one down to monthly or bi-monthly milestones. It probably comes out much the same. Sometimes I do not meet my montly goal and need to move it to the next month. But it’s enough to keep me moving forward so that it’s a monthly thing and not the end of the year without moving in the right direction.

  6. posted by Richard | RichardShelmerdine.com on

    I’m really looking forwards to 2010. It’s gonna be a great year! I am going to join you on the exercise daily thing and am starting in February. Good luck!

  7. posted by Jackie Pettus on

    Hi Erin: 2009 really was a banner year for you. Congratulations on your book AND your new baby! If this is the first baby, I’ll be interested to see how your life, and possibly your “uncluttering” activities change. There are three of you now, and it’s amazing how much “stuff” comes with kids! In addition to the physical things (toys, clothes, diapers, baby bottles, etc.), there’s the “business” end of becoming a family. When there are just two of you, life’s little details are pretty easy to keep track of. When you add a child, it becomes a little more complicated. Life insurance. Babysitters. College savings plans. Health insurance. Medical records. Emergency info. The list goes on and on.

    Habitudes, my family organizing website, is designed to help young families stay on top of things. It offers tools to guide them through household tasks and safeguards vital household information online. If you’re interested, you’ll find Habitudes at http://www.habitudes.info.

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  9. posted by LobotoME {goods to keep ME sane} on

    Hi Erin! You did have a great 2009! Congratulations on both!!! Love your quarterly resolution idea – will explore that as I finalize my 2010 resolutions! Happy New Year!

  10. posted by Mneiae on

    You and Leo Babauta are doing the same thing, as far as implementing 6 new habits. Have you checked out his 6changes site? It would be awesome if you two worked together.

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  15. posted by lola meyer on

    I love my desk calendar! It keeps our schedule of family events, meetings, etc… in one organized place, and also is a great spot to list resolutions and reminders of things we hope to accomplish throughout the year. The calendar is the first thing we look at every morning, so each day we are reminded of our long term goals.

  16. posted by The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Cookbook Overload Edition | Finance Blog on

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  17. posted by logos coaching on

    I really like the idea of your quarterly resolutions. Helps to keep the focus on just a few things at a time instead of many for the whole year :)

  18. posted by The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Cookbook Overload Edition | Daily News 5 - Breaking News Now! on

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  19. Profile photo of

    posted by Laetitia in Australia on

    Hear, hear, paula b

    I don’t do change of year resolutions – why wait half/most of a year to start improving my life? Also, why wait all that long, get caught up in other end of year activities, forget what the resolution was let alone to actually start it and feel like a failure which just sets one up for the downward spiral self-fulfilling prophecy of, “oh, I’ll never make it – I always break my resolutions” internal monologue.

    I do, however like the idea of improving your life by starting with improving your energy levels and giving that time to kick in and consolidate before tackling other large projects. :-)

  20. posted by nadira on

    As you can see, I’m behind in my email. :P

    First of all I want to say something that I’ve been putting off:

    Erin, you are truly to be congratulated for 2009 for among all of the rest of the things you do, you have made me a number fan for your customer service:

    The university made a change to its email program to allow a much larger email box (well, not great for uncluttering lol), so now my emails don’t get bumped, and I’m not kicked off lists. So last fall I decided to get back on unclutterer, but had a problem because I had been previously kicked off.

    Within an hour (or less) and only 3 emails, I was back on! I can’t think of ANY other solution where a problem was taken care of as quickly or cheerfully!

    Thank you, Erin

    Nadira

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