I’ve recently been reading a book about “dieting” that is also teaching me a lot about getting organized! Both organizing and eating differently involve changing our habits, and that’s definitely not easy. The book I’m reading covers the psychology behind sticking with an eating plan, and whenever we try to change our habits, what’s going on in our mind is so important.
Side note in case you are curious: The book is called the Beck Diet Solution, and, surprisingly, it says almost nothing about what you should eat. It’s all about how to get your mind on your side to help you follow through with whatever eating plan you choose. It is one of the most impactful books I’ve ever read.
Let’s face it: staying organized is hard. So is dieting or changing your eating habits or whatever you want to call it. It involves the consistent effort of doing something that does not come naturally.
When we want to eat healthier, we’re usually not lacking in the knowledge of what we should or shouldn’t eat. My problem isn't that I’m not aware that pizza, cookies, and soda is not a healthy dinner. The problem is that pizza and cookies are so much easier and yummier than grilled chicken and veggies. Am I right?
Staying organized is exactly the same. The problem is not usually lack of knowledge! I know that I need wash up all the dishes right after dinner to keep the house tidy, but it’s a lot easier to do something more fun instead. I know that I should do a 15 minute tidy of the house after the kids go to bed instead of relaxing on the couch while watching my favorite YouTube planner videos, but it’s so much more comfortable to do that. Am I right?
So what should we do?
There are two principles that really help me:
First, I make sticking to the plan as easy as I possibly can and do as much work ahead of time as possible. For example, I was in the bad habit of throwing my coat over the arm of the couch when I got home rather than walking all the way back to my bedroom and putting it in the closet where it belongs. To solve that, I put hook near our door so I just have to put the coat right there on the hook – so much quicker and I easier. Super simple but it makes a big difference.
I do the same thing with eating healthier. When I do a bunch of healthy food prep on Sunday evenings, it’s so much easier to grab a healthy lunch each day! When it comes to organizing, having a clear place for everything where it’s easy to put away helps a lot. It’s a bit of extra work up front, but it pays off in the long run.
Second, I work hard on building up my “stick to it” muscle. I learned this from the book, and the author calls it the “resistance muscle”. The more often we do something, the easier and more natural it becomes. When I don’t feel like washing up the dishes after dinner, I try to convince myself that skipping it just this one time won’t hurt anything. (Am I the only one who does this?) But I remind myself that if I do it now, it’s actually going to make it easier for me to do it all the other times, because I’m establishing that habit.
So what about you? Do you think dieting and staying organized are a lot alike? What tricks do you use to help yourself stick with it?
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