"I'm a hot mess, and I have the house to prove it," chuckled Amy as she rolled her eyes and sat across from me.
She went on for at least 10 minutes explaining everything from her schedule to her home, her relationships, and her thoughts are a mess. Her conclusion:
"I will always be disorganized."
If that sounds like you, read on because I will show you how Amy and others brought order and less clutter through self-reflection and adopting new beliefs. It will have you evicting a messy mindset from your mental apartment and replacing it with a 'get-it-done' attitude!" Here's a 10-step approach to help you make this shift:
Awareness: This is the first step to meaningful change. Once you are aware and admit you want to change your current relationship with clutter, you can shift anything dramatically by reframing mental attitudes, beliefs, and thought patterns to effectively organize your life, space, and tasks. First, accept that you are limited by the belief that you will always be disorganized. Recognize that this thought has been limiting your potential and hindering your progress and that you want to let go of the idea that you will always be disorganized.
Challenge the belief: Question the validity of the thought. What past experiences created this belief and or negative self-talk? When have you been organized in anything in the past? Look for evidence that you are capable of change. Thinking you can't change because 'people never change' is like saying the Earth is flat and unicorns are real – it's time for a belief makeover!
Replace with a growth-oriented belief: Replace the old belief with a new, growth-oriented one. For example: When you hear that inner voice saying something like, “You are such a mess, and you’ll never change," replace it: "With practice and effort, I am becoming an organizing superhero, wiping out any clutter that stands in my way." This new thought acknowledges your potential for change and growth.
Identify triggers: Explore the situations or triggers that lead to disorganization. Are there specific patterns or habits that contribute to this belief? One of the most common patterns is blaming others for not doing what they should do to help maintain the house. The question is, could the same be said of you? (ouch) Identifying these mental stories that trigger you to avoid personal responsibility can help you address them more effectively.
Set realistic goals: Define specific, achievable organizational goals. Start with small changes and gradually work your way up. Trying to do it all at once may seem like ripping off the bandaid to get results quicker when, in fact, it overwhelms and typically hurts momentum. As progress is made, celebrate your successes along the way to reinforce the new belief.
Develop strategies: Research and implement practical strategies to improve your organizational skills. This could include creating to-do lists, using digital tools, decluttering your physical space, and establishing routines. Another helpful approach is to consider what it costs you to remain disorganized and what you will gain if you make the change.
Practice self-compassion: Be patient and kind to yourself during this process. Understand that change takes time and setbacks are a natural part of growth. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would offer to a friend. Create positive, playful self-talk like, "You're the Grandmaster of Minutes, reclaiming lost hours by swiftly finding what you need instead of hunting down elusive items."
Visualize success: Imagine yourself as an organized and efficient individual. Think of every detail of how you want to see your organized life, space, and mind. Visualizing your desired outcome helps reinforce the new belief and motivates you to take action. Where we focus is where we go. So focus on what you want instead of what you don't want.
Seek support: Consider working with a mindset coach to work on limiting beliefs and assumptions to change your perspective of clutter so you can make lasting and freeing permanent change. And, hire a professional organizer who can provide guidance, bring order, and a literal reset to your organizational skills.
Track progress: Keep a journal or record of your efforts and progress. Celebrate each step forward, and use this record to remind yourself of your growth and achievements. Every action and effort toward change is worth recognizing and celebrating to acknowledge how little by little you are getting toward the organized outcomes you seek.
Remember that changing long-held habits and beliefs takes time and consistent effort. By actively challenging and replacing negative thoughts with positive, growth-oriented ones, you can shift your mindset and change your organizational skills, one new, more empowering thought at a time.
Mindset coach, Judy Lester, assists people in developing a more organized and productive approach to their lives by focusing on their thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes to help them move past perceived limitations to become anything they want to be and do. Learn more about Judy at Connecting Point Breakthrough Coaching.