I tend to come back to one simple rule – Get Started. If you want to get rid of clutter – get started. If you want to lose weight – get started. If you want to read more books – get started! It doesn't always matter how you do it, why you do it, or where you do it, it just matters that you are doing it and working on getting the momentum you need to keep things going.
So if that is the case, what else do we need? Well, I know as well as anyone that sometimes it can be tough to get started. For whatever reason we end up procrastinating or putting off what we could get started on today – even when we know that it will result in an increase in our own happiness – how crazy is that?!?
If you are having trouble finding the motivation to get started with a project or with a change in your habits, sit back and take a minute to relax and really think it through. You might be surprised how this can help your level of motivation.
There are several ways to approach this but I generally like to think through the benefits that would result from me following through with the task at hand. Use the following areas to get started, they should help you start to realize the many benefits of getting started:
- Short term benefits
- Mid term benefits
- Long term benefits
Short term benefits
Basically, what do you stand to gain right now? What is the instant gratification that will result from taking action this instant? Most of us are prone to seeking instant gratification and it is not always a problem so long as we use this to motivate us in the right direction.
Think about what you stand to gain from cleaning up a mess or decluttering your room right now:
- Less clutter!
- Peace of mind
- More space
- Forward momentum
- Sense of accomplishment
- Cleaner home
- Better organization
What might happen if you let the moment pass?
- The same amount or more clutter
- Your subconscious nagging at you
- Feeling like you can't accomplish what you want or need to
Want to know the best part about your short term accomplishments? You don't even need to finish them! Of course, if you have the time and inclination you should follow through and finish the job – but remember, it's about getting started. Most of us will naturally want to finish the task or at least come back to it later once we have begun. That's why taking even 5 minutes to get rid of some clutter, organize a desk drawer, or set aside clothes for donation is so effective. Remember, you don't need a lot of time you just need to be consistent.
Mid Term Benefits
After thinking through the short term benefits you can consider what the mid term benefits will be. Some common upsides are:
- Motivation to keep decluttering
- Increase in personal happiness from making changes
Another aspect of decluttering that can have dramatic mid term benefits is the effects that it will have on others who are around you: your family, your friends, and your coworkers. The changes that you make and the decisions you choose will have a positive effect on those around you.
Long Term Benefits
If you have made it all the way to considering long term benefits for a bit of decluttering then I commend you! Joking aside, it might be good to stick to the short term when considering little tasks, odds and ends, or 5 minute jobs, but you really should consider the long term goals and benefits of what you are undertaking.
If you decide to organize your entryway, clean out a closet, or organize your computer desk cables you are helping yourself build habits that reinforce constructive behavior. Over time these little things add up. People and their habits don't change overnight, it is one action at a time that defines us. By making the correct short term choices you can have a huge impact on your future self.
By starting with the smaller projects you can change your home and your life into what you want it to be. Do you desire a clean house? Start by cleaning your counters or another small area. Do you want to see the floor in the extra bedroom? Clear out a small patch today. Can't decide which box of things to get rid of? Start with one today and move on to the other boxes at a later date. I guarantee that if you take action and get started today you will be able to look back after 2-3 weeks and see changes. It is knowing the outcome and how it can change your life that should help motivate you. It worked for me and it works every day for many other people.
Start changing your life now!