OK, we’re a month into the New Year, and not only have I NOT lost weight, but I’ve put back on the three pounds I lost four weeks ago! Many people would be discouraged and throw in the towel at this point, but I would encourage you to reboot your program and start again—every morning, if necessary. Losing weight, saving money or getting organized are about mindset. Firstly, you have to recognize that just like our bodies needing a rest and reboot every night, so does our mindset. You need to think about your goals and adjust your settings, and make a move towards getting there. I suggest doing it in baby steps.

As parents, we would not expect our babies to get up at 12 months of age and walk across the room. They need to practice and so do you when setting up and working towards your goals. First you need to realize that something is not working and that you want to change. For instance, you may realize that you have not read your Sports Illustrated or Oprah subscription in months! Is this important to you—does reading these magazines bring you joy? If so, then decide when and where you are going to read them and then commit to getting it done by that deadline. Maybe that time is Saturday morning with your cup of tea, or Friday night with that glass of wine. Figure out the specifics, and then get it done. In the end, you may decide that you and Sports Illustrated or Oprah are no longer friends and you cancel that subscription. That works too, in the way of achieving your organizing goals.

In the business of organizing, we call this process chunking, where you take a large task and break it up into smaller parts that are manageable. The Japanese call this process kaizen— incremental progress. Psychologically, this makes the project much more manageable. Instead of looking at the whole project (organizing the house) you take on one aspect that is achievable, like sorting out one kitchen drawer. As you address each part and get it done, you create a momentum that builds success. In the case of losing weight, that might mean you recommit to getting rid of the potato chips you ate last night and return to that low carb program that made you feel so good and drop that weight. I saw Laila Ali (daughter of Mohammed Ali) speak about making baby steps at a Morgan Stanley/ American Red Cross event this week. When someone asked her about making lifestyle changes when you have a busy schedule, Ali suggested “batch cooking” on Sundays when you don’t have time to prepare meals during the week. This would be one way to chunk organizing your food program and hearing that from her this week was a timely reminder.

So like learning how to walk, you can do anything you take on in baby steps and like a proud parent, applaud yourself every single little step along the way! Happy organizing!