Creating New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

After Christmas each year, the search function on our website gets a lot of activity by people looking for articles on “how to get organized” and “be more organized.” This is of little surprise since “Get Organized!” is such a common New Year’s Resolution.

Over the next couple weeks, we are going to address New Year’s Resolutions in a series of posts — how to create them, how to make a plan for achieving them, technology that can help you work on them, and even an alternative perspective on how not to make them. We want to help the thousands of people looking to get rid of clutter and find more organization in the new year, just as we do every day, but also lend a helping hand to those of you creating resolutions that have nothing at all to do with clutter and disorganization.


Grab a pen and paper, find a quiet and comfortable place to sit, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Spend a few minutes in solitude trying your best to think about nothing. If you’re like most people (myself included) it will be very difficult to clear your mind, especially if this is not an activity you do regularly. Responsibilities, concerns, wishes, dreams, embarrassing situations, and maybe a few random jokes will flood your mind. As they do, write down these thoughts on your paper and then quickly return to trying to clear your mind. Eventually, you’ll either tire of the activity or be successful at having a clear mind, and this is when you can stop the meditation activity and review the list you created.

Do you notice any themes among the items on your list? Do you see items that evoke strong feelings — good or bad? Are there items on your list of things you wish to change or improve upon or achieve?

While reviewing this list, think about how you want to feel in 2014. Like most people, you probably wish to have more energy, more happiness, and less stress. Are there any items on your list that will help you achieve these feelings of contentment?

Work through your notes and begin to draft your resolutions for the new year.

Be precise

After brainstorming, “Get Organized!” may still be at the forefront of your resolutions. Unfortunately, it is an extremely vague resolution, and people who make vague resolutions are more likely to fail at achieving them than people who make precise resolutions.

Do you want to get organized at work or at home? Is there a specific area of your life where, if you were more organized, you would have less stress? Do you have one or two projects that are out of control and a little organizing can help them succeed?

The more exact you are with what you want to change, the more likely you will be to create steps to help you achieve your resolutions. Instead of “Get Organized!” perhaps you want to create precise resolutions like: Better organize the children’s bedtime routine; Organize and file medical records and bills; Unclutter clothes that don’t fit from bedroom closet; Research, acquire, learn how to use, and maintain a new project management system at work.

Be realistic

There are a number of things I would like to change about myself, but I am not super human. I have limitations — limited time, energy, finances, etc. As a result, I’ve never been successful at achieving more than 12 resolutions (one per month) in a given year. And, most years, I’ve only been able to achieve four or five large resolutions. You know yourself best, so be realistic with what you can achieve. If you have a newborn at home, you may only want to have two or three resolutions for 2014. If “Get the proper amount of sleep each night by going to bed by 10:00 pm” is one of your resolutions, as it is one of mine, put it at the top of your list. The more energy you have, the more likely you’ll be to achieve the other resolutions on your list.

Further reading

When creating New Year’s Resolutions, I always think about the brilliant and inspiring Danielle LaPorte. Her book The Desire Map is one of the best books I’ve encountered for helping to decide what new path or paths you wish to take in life.

6 Comments for “Creating New Year’s Resolutions for 2014”

  1. posted by liss on

    As an organized person, whatever your resolutions are, most importantly they have to work for you/be something you can accomplish or do day in/day out. Otherwise they won’t work. I have helped others get organized and always quiz them as we work as to what methods would work best for them and why, instead of using my methods which won’t work long-term for them.
    Your resolutions could also be more along the lines of letting go of stuff or mindsets that won’t help you towards your goals of being organized, if that is something that seems too overwhelming at this stage.
    Good luck!

  2. posted by adora on

    I’ve read several studies about resolution. Oddly, being specific or realistic do not affect the success. People who want to “lose weight”, “lose 15 pounds” or “lose 50 pounds”, pretty much all lose only 10 pounds by end of the year. There is actually some evidence that people who set ambitious goals are more likely to achieve it.
    These studies suggest the main factor for success is in implementation. Rather than “get organized”, one should block out time in the schedule to tidy up. This is probably why ambitious goals work. You are less likely to procrastinate if there is a lot to do.

  3. posted by Matt on

    A couple of things that I have often overlooked when setting goals is the habit forming time and the barriers to achieving my goals. A study from 2009 showed that it takes an average of 66 days before a new habit is created- this is a long time to remember to do something new everyday. Conventional wisdom has always said that 21 days is how long it take but the reality is 66 days. Perhaps this is why you are successful at only 4-5 big goals per year, one every 2-3 months equals 4-5 per year. The barriers to achieving our goals are also important to identify, why do I want to lose weight? If I can’t afford a gym membership or my family laughs at me for eating healthy these are barriers that need to be identified and a plan for overcoming them.

  4. posted by HighDream on

    Great FREE app to make your New Year’s resolutions stick

    iTunes –
    Google Play –

  5. posted by Aanchal on

    It seems really easy to decide something that you are going to do/not going to do the next year… but following it whole heartedly is another thing altogether.

  6. posted by Capital Junk on

    Another great article, I was able to use some of your suggestions for having company over the holiday season and they worked like a charm and offered myself and my family a stress free visit. Thank you for more great decluttering tips, now to find the time to do them!!

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