New Year, New Start, No Excuses!

Want a fresh start to 2012 but don’t know where to begin? Hitting the gym or starting a diet feels easy but keeping it up for more than a few days is excruciating at best. Perhaps your efforts would be better served if you could make a few simple one-time changes with minimal effort and then reap the benefits for the remainder of the year. Much more palatable, no?

We become accustomed to our spaces and the deficiencies they entail; the scuff on the wall that never gets painted, the loose drawer handle that never gets tightened or the closet light bulb that never gets replaced. Small problems add up and create tension in our home. But the simple fact is that improving your space can enhance your mood and outlook on life. Creating a more inviting, organized and productive space requires no more than a few minutes of thought and a few simple actions:

1. Visualize the End Result – you don’t need to go through the trouble of making a vision board. Just think through your daily routine and what needs improvement: better sleep, more comfortable surroundings, more quality family or work space. Focusing on how you would like to see things work better should reveal the details that need to be changed.

2. Simplify and Organize – Clutter, confusion and disarray creep up on everyone, even a minimalist like myself. Dedicating a few focused hours to organization is an easy way to redefine space and quickly feel like you’ve accomplished something. Clear out your pantry and fridge and put away items that collect on the floor and in corners of your rooms. Recycle, give away or sell excess belongings and bring order to your drawers, closets, and desk.

3. Make Your Technology Work or Wean Yourself Off of It. Smartphones and tablets have great tools for organizing lists and schedules. Learn to use them for enhanced productivity. Or if you’re distracted by your electronic vices, go old school and use a pad, pencil and calendar to track your life and goals. Either way, turn off everything electronic at regular intervals to make time for being creative (hobbies, cooking, art, take a class).

3. Focus on Small Changes or Improvements. A few small projects can yield substantial feelings of accomplishment and create energy and motivation for larger ones. Changing your artwork, the throw pillows on your couch, a lamp shade or even painting an accent wall can all contribute to a brighter outlook. Most small changes not only require little time, they also require little money.

4. Take a risk. The biggest rewards can come from the boldest changes, and there is nothing bolder than changing your color palate. From the paint on your walls to the clothes you wear, most tend to rely on the same set of colors year after year. If at a loss for a new hue, you can always borrow from the experts (Pantone’s 2012 choice of Tangerine is shown above. I’ve thrown in their alternate choice of blue from their male fashion perspective). But whatever color you choose, have no fear as color can be temporary. And worst case, you can simply wait for next New Years to change it all again!

Whatever changes you decide to make, start small, think big and don’t be afraid of change.

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