For years I have struggled with motivating myself to exercise. Recently I’ve found a system that’s been working for me. All of a sudden I see a lot of parallels to organizing.
1) Don’t start off too fast. With exercise your body may rebel and you may risk injury. Being too ambitious can cause burnout. With organizing you probably won’t get injured but your spirit may rebel! I’ve seen people dump everything out of their closets and empty their drawers. That leaves them overwhelmed and in worse shape than when they started!
2) Be patient. If you run, it takes awhile to get your wind, your lungs may burn…and you won’t necessarily see immediate results. It’s the same for organizing. It took awhile to get into a disorganized state, allow yourself time to make the necessary changes. Just hang in there, the results will come. Really!
3) Train first. If you are planning to run a marathon, you run a few smaller races before you run 26 miles. If you are new to decluttering, don’t start with your hardest project. Clean out the junk drawer and build your momentum.
4) Do something every day. The best training programs are not about the short term fix. They are about changing your lifestyle. You may want to lose weight, but for lasting results you build exercise into your life. Likewise, your goal may be to remove clutter but in order to keep things organized regular maintenance is required.
5) Find a buddy. I have a few exercise buddies and we meet at a set time. This offers motivation and accountability. But truth be told, it's the social aspect that keeps me going. If you think the buddy system could work for you, swap time with a friend. Or hire a professional to help you get the job done.