I've never much cared for New Year's resolutions. Instead, I find it easier to focus on a couple of specific things that I would like to achieve for the upcoming year. These long-term goals somehow have a way of winning out, even when my resolve flags. You may set goals for redecorating, renovating, refreshing, rearranging, or just plain enjoying the space in which you live. But some are much more realistic than others, and not all goals are created equal. Here are some guidelines for setting yours so that you can increase the likelihood of actually meeting them.
Be specific. Let's suppose that you are a messy person: you never know where you left your keys, you have trouble finding the things you need in the morning, and you have no idea where those receipts you need for tax purposes are. Instead of saying, "I want to be less messy," you should get specific with your goals. It is easier to address plans such as "I will make a place to put my keys, organize my papers, and keep my work materials together" than it is to address vague goals like "be neater."
Make your goals action items, instead of statements of hope. Specificity is not the only thing that will help you create obtainable goals. You also need to come up with goals that have a clear resolution. When you first come up with your goals, you might think, "I want a cleaner house." But don't stop there. That's a hope, not a goal. Home in on what it is that you really want, and then create action items that will help you achieve that goal. For example, "I want a cleaner house" becomes "I will clean my house every Saturday morning, with daily tidying sessions that are 30-minutes long." The more specific and action-oriented you are, the easier it will be to assess whether your goals are feasible and to gauge whether you are meeting them.
Be realistic within the confines of your time, family situation, health, and financial capabilities. It's easy to get carried away with the action items and create a strict new regimen for yourself. If it seems realistic to say, "I will clean my house every Saturday morning, with daily tidying sessions that are 30-minutes long," then it may not take much to convince yourself, on paper, that it's just as realistic to add the tasks of cleaning the shower grout every other day with a toothbrush, vacuuming every day, and doing laundry twice a week. But if you are a single parent with two kids and little time to spare, this type of diligent cleaning may not be the right goal for you. If you set goals that are outside the parameters of convenience—or even reality—then chances are, you won't meet them.
Give yourself sub-goals with deadlines. A year is a really long time. If you want to be sure that you are accomplishing your goals in a consistent, efficient, and (at least relatively) easy manner, it's good to create a timeline for the work. If you want to redo your bathroom, come up with a timeline. If you want to work on organizing your office, design a plan: "In January, I will sort through my old papers; in February, I will buy file boxes and put everything in order." When you have a long span of time without sub-deadlines, procrastination becomes far too easy.
All that said, my main goal this year is to be a more-efficient cleaner, particularly when it comes to the bathroom. I won't walk you through them, but I have my action goals and sub-goals set, and really, it's not going to be that big of an adjustment. It's just a question of forming some new habits.
What is your main home goal this year? Is it big? Small? Are you up to the challenge?