What reward will YOU get today for your organizing efforts? We love to reward our kids for their efforts. We give them gold stars, we praise them, and we take them for ice cream. We don’t wait for the end of the year to give them feedback; we look for small wins on regular days to let them know they’re doing great. It feels good, sure, but more importantly, rewards for our kids are powerful training tools.
We adults are always learning until the day we die. We eventually learn to set goals and reach them, even without a cheerleader. But it’s not always easy, is it? That’s why I want you to pick your reward now, BEFORE you start your organizing project. YOU deserve to be rewarded for your efforts, too!
The SORT and Succeed organizing system addresses two big demotivators that most people have to getting organized:
getting started and feeling finished.
SORT and Succeed is a simple 5-step system to organize anything:
- S- Start with a written goal that is five words or less, e.g., clear off the kitchen counter.
- O- Organize into groups, e.g., dishes together, silverware together, cereal together.
- R- Reduce, release, and reset, e.g., toss expired food, donate unused coffee mugs, fold kitchen towels.
- T- Tweak, e.g., add labels to drawers, add a lazy Susan.
- Succeed and Celebrate– Reward yourself for a job well done, e.g., take yourself out for iced coffee.
These five steps move you logically from a potentially overwhelming starting point all the way through to a satisfying conclusion of your project. The reward is your celebration for your organizing success.
Each and every time you’ve gone through the first four steps of SORT and Succeed, you get to reward yourself.
Please don’t wait until your life is perfectly organized to reward yourself.
You reward your kids before they reach perfection, right?
Pick Your Reward for Your Organizing Celebration
Your reward for an organizing project can be something low-cost or even free, but it should be a real treat for you. Your reward can be almost anything, as long as it isn’t an unhealthy shopping spree that spawns more clutter. Some great rewards can be:
- Taking a walk around the block
- Adding whipped cream to your coffee
- Making time to phone a friend
- Letting yourself pick the family movie, instead of letting the kids choose
- Ordering dinner out
- Upgrading some household necessity to a nicer model. Upgrade the shoe rack? The kitchen trash can? Your closet hangers?
- Inviting a friend over for a social visit
- Spending a guilt-free afternoon on your favorite hobby
- Putting time aside to plan a fun trip or project. The trip itself isn’t the reward; allowing yourself permission to make the arrangements before it becomes a crisis is a reward that will also set you up for success later.
- Reading a good book…guilt-free
This is a very short sampling of a long list of options. The point is to reward yourself for getting organized in small doses, on regular days, for accomplishing small doses of organizing that you probably don’t think of as amazing.
Steps 5 of SORT and Succeed is based on science and what we know about how neural connections are made. Neurons in the brain are the electrical pathways where thoughts travel. As we have repeated thoughts, nearby neurons extend towards each other, build a connection, eventually fuse together into a single long neuron, and then repeat the process. This is how we build habits. This is also how we make behaviors “stick” and build new habits. And don’t you want those New Year’s resolutions to stick better this year?
So…if you want to get better at something, including organizing, you’ll be more likely to want to repeat it if it’s a happy (rewarding) experience. Your chosen reward tells your brain that you can do it, you DID do it, and it’ll be more pleasant again next time you do it. And you will, of course, have to organize your closets again. So why not get rewarded for it?
With science on your side, I hope you’ll reward yourself for a job well done. Please leave a comment. What will your reward be for your next organizing project?
Oh, right, there’s a SORT and Succeed book to help you with this!
See all of my January 2021 organizing articles in one place.