A new year means a fresh start and a chance to reevaluate our goals, but a ridiculously long resolutions list can stop us before we start. As a Professional Organizer, I’ve developed some tricks for helping you stick to your goals, whether it’s decluttering the house or finishing that novel.

Attitude really is everything. When setting goals for yourself, start by inventorying what’s right in your life to put your resolutions in perspective. Instead of basing goals on guilt or “shoulds,” remind yourself that purging the old, whether it’s stuff or a habit, will make room for good new things, literally and figuratively.

Dig a little deeper. Be good to yourself and be realistic about why you’re not meeting your goals. Are you stressed from work, moving, caregiving a parent or child or spouse? Do you have health issues or are you just plain exhausted? Adding the strain of a resolution often will only make it worse. Take slow and steady steps in the right direction, and you’ll start breathing easier in no time.

Set attainable goals. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Make your goal reasonable and make it measurable. And seriously, this is a personal resolution, not an “Act of Congress.” If you’ve overreached or need to reevaluate your plan at any time, you can!

It’s more fun with friends. The agreements we make with ourselves are easy to fudge. So find someone to commit with – one person or a group. Even if your resolutions are different, encourage each other, confess when you fall behind and, most important, share rewards and celebrate your accomplishments, both great and small.

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