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Become A Clean Person This Year In 10 Steps

Become A Clean Person This Year In 10 Steps

If you are struggling to become a clean person and keeping yourself and your space in order this year, here are 10 ways to make a clean break from your old habits and become a cleaner, more organized person in 2014. Many things may affect your personal cleanliness and home, but you do not have to let it. Your mess does not own you, you own your mess.

1. Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health.

If you noticed that you abandoned cleaning or keeping up with yourself in the past year, you may choose to ask yourself if depression, fatigue, health issues, too many obligations or low self-esteem were at play. If so, you may wish to enlist the help of a loved one, confidant or trusted guide or therapist and reflect on your thinking patterns or life changes that may have affected you deeply in the previous year. Cleaning your mind is one of the first steps you can take to a more organized year and to become a clean person. You will find great empowerment in a little soul cleansing. Sometimes, we are not even aware of the impact of a certain experience on ourselves, until long after. To become a clean person, you have to take into consideration that your inside environment may be affecting what is going on around you and could be acting as a barrier.

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2. Write Down Three Cleaning Goals Every Day and Do Them.

If you are facing piles of papers, boxes, trinkets, toys, unopened mail and clothes strewn about, you may feel overwhelmed. It may seem easy to just walk away and ignore the mess until it gets bigger again and even more overwhelming.  Don’t let an already out of control mess get worse.  Take it on slowly, one step at a time.  Make a point to sit down everyday with your calendar or notepad and write a list of three things that you would like to attend to.  The list is only for you to see, so don’t feel obligated to show anyone else. Your list might include things like throwing away unused magazines, mopping the kitchen floor, clipping your toenails, organizing your purse or wallet. At the end of each day, you can take pride in having completed your tasks and if you’re up to it, add on two or more to the list.  Slow and steady wins the race and before you know it, you’re once daunting mess, will become smaller and more manageable.

3. Start Small.

Small gestures toward your goal to become a clean person are what leads to success. As the Sufis and Buddha say; “Each drop of water makes an ocean.” These simple efforts will go a long way in re-establishing your patterns and intentions for the new year. Each step is in its own way, a journey to better understanding yourself. Your small act of cleanliness might simply be taking a deep zen breath and getting in a good shower or bath, doing your laundry, washing your car, dusting your bookshelf, wiping down your computer keyboard or hanging up your clothes. As you build your cleaning prowess, you may graduate to tackling one room at a time.

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4. Decide What Products you Need to Help you Clean.

Take a look at your list of goals and see what sorts of products you will need to purchase, if you don’t already have them. You may realize you need silver cleaning cloths so you can clean your favorite time piece and organize your jewelry box, garment bags or more hangers for your closet. You may not figure out what you need until you are in the midst of cleaning.  Write them down as you go along so you’ll know what to buy the next time you go to the store.

5. Keep a Small Stock of Basic Cleaning and Grooming Needs.

Now that you have a sense of what you will need to become a clean person, you can make a small investment in keeping your items organized and in place.  Make a list of the items you need for yourself and your home and stock up at the store.  Or save some money by swapping with friends or family, check out free-cycle type community pages online where others can share and give away what they are not using or needing and you can return the favor to them, especially as you uncover all sorts of items that may have been sitting around, unused.

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6. Approach Each Task with Curiosity.

Try to remove self-judgement and stay present in your activity. Do not beat yourself up for the mess of unfolded towels or dirty dishes. Treat each activity like therapy. It’s something that’s helping you relax and allowing you to contemplate new ways to make use of the things you have. You may wish to even turn on some calming music as you clean or organize. Cleaning is a great time to think and act in silence. A mantra to encourage your desire to become a clean person, may bring you comfort, too. Whether you are cleaning yourself, your home or the dishes, it is all an act of appreciation for your little sliver of the world. Do not be surprised if you are suddenly inspired and struck with brand new ideas to approach other aspects of your life.

7. Learn to See Things for What They Are: Things.

It is very easy to accumulate a significant amount of things due to attachment and romantic thoughts associated with each piece. As you aim to become a clean person this year, you will want to assess whether the things you have are serving you positively or weighing you down emotionally. It may be affecting your productivity, ability to start a new project, or keep up with basic house chores and personal grooming. Some of your treasures inspire and uplift you.  Keep the things you cherish and display them in your home.  But also be aware of items you’re attached to simply because they’ve always been in your life or you think you ‘might need it someday.’  This type of thinking and attachment to things can create a mountain of unusable goods that just sits around and collects dust.  Learning to let go of your stuff will lead to a really profound emotional freedom within you and you’ll soon learn that you don’t need ‘things’ to make you happy.

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8. Make a Small Pile of What you Want to Keep and Let Go of the Rest.

As you go through your list of cleaning goals, you will want to pay close attention to the items you are cleaning, using, organizing and putting in order. Are there dried roses, dirty pillow cases, a weird foot massaging contraption you never used, or out of date make up? Make a few piles of those items that need to retire to the bottom of the recycling/trash bin or be donated.  This may seem harder than it is but once you remove judgement, attachment and expectation, you will find that minimizing your possessions will allow you more time and space to get creative and clean.

9. Give Yourself Time.

When starting on your cleaning goals, allow yourself enough time so you do not feel overwhelmed and rushed. If you start to feel so, stop and take inventory of what you want to do and what your time will realistically allow at that moment in your quest to become a clean person. You may want to start an alarm, if you have other pressing matters you need to attend to afterwards. Or you can set a timer to see how long certain tasks will take you, so you can better plan and schedule them throughout your week and develop them as routines. You may only get to one of the three and put off the other two for later on in the day, or another day all together, and put in its place another task that will take less of your time. That is okay. Your mere intention and action are half the battle. In the end, you can still relish in the fact that you took action and completed something. Do not feel you must accomplish everything at once.

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10. Always, always make your bed. (And floss!)

Studies continue to show that those who make their bed daily are happier, feel more energized, clear-headed and able to focus better. A simple routine of making your bed can inject something positive into your day so include this in your daily routine.  Making your bed is not only for the benefit of a cleaner, more organized space but it’s also a good gift to yourself as you become a clean person, creating an inviting space for you to return to after a long day. A great book on creating lasting habits is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. Like flossing, you will feel the difference immediately when you make your bed. And you will save money and time that might go to constantly replacing ill-cared for bed sheets or dental visits!

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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