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Get Your House in Order
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Get Your House in Order

Have you ever heard the expression “get your house in order” and wondered what that means?  Well, there are several things that are involved in achieving this.  Firstly, it means that you make sure that your affairs are arranged properly.  It also means that you have dealt with problems appropriately. The third part is to ensure that these things are completed before you even consider thinking about or criticizing others.

So, as you know, I believe in breaking tasks down into small steps and watching goals being achieved over time.  Because of this, I have laid out twelve areas in which you can focus – one for each month the year.  You do not have to do them in order but, make sure that by the end of the year you have made progress in every single step:

  1. Health – Seriously consider your self-care practices. Book appointments for an annual check-up with your physician and dentist.  Plan nutritious menus and follow through on preparing and eating them.  Commit to getting enough exercise, laughter and sleep. Decide what you need to increase and what you need to decrease.
  2. Finances – Set out a budget that is reasonable and achievable. Pay your bills and store them properly so you can find them.  File your taxes.  Start an investment.  Review your bank statement and consider how you can reduce expenses and/or increase income.
  3. Activities – Take an inventory of all the things that you already have and could be doing. How many books, projects and hobbies do you have available?  Plan how you will finish the unfinished.
  4. Clothing – Take everything out of your closet and only put back the things that fit, are clean and make you look good. Make sure that any mending or repairs are done.  Place similar items together (pants, tops, dresses).  Then work on the drawers, shoes and hats.
  5. Relationships – Prepare a list of all the birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions that you want to remember. Then go through your Christmas card list and update it.  Spend the rest of the month sending cards and letters to the people you care about.
  6. De-cluttering – Every time you leave the house, take one thing with you to give away. Thirty days and thirty things will be gone!  Each week enter one room with an empty box and fill it with things that you can get rid of.  (It is more satisfying to give the items to another person who will love them than just throw them out).
  7. Transportation – Take this month to clean the vehicles and garage. If you don’t have a vehicle, do maintenance on your bike or prepare a gift for the people who drive you around.  (Remember to walk every day too).
  8. Collections – Sort the things that you have been treasuring but not organizing. This might be jewelry, coin sets, photos, tools, art or other supplies.
  9. Legacy – Make sure your will is updated and you have a list to attach that outlines how you want specific items to be distributed. Write your obituary.  Prepare a video, audio or written history for the generations to come.
  10. Inspiration – Find a way to encourage a stranger every single day this month. A few kind but genuine words will stay with that person for a long time!  Perhaps forever!
  11. Kitchen/Bathroom – Use it or lose it! Do not purchase anything until you have used what you already have.  How full is the freezer?   Get creative.   How many hand lotions do you need?   None until you are out.
  12. Give thanks – Notice your blessings and acknowledge where they came from. Thank your family, friends, co-workers, neighbours, and God.  And remember to thank yourself for you would not be where you are without the effort you have invested over the years.

Twelve months.  Twelve areas of focus.  Tiny steps every day and celebration at year end.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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About the Author

Dr. Hancock has written a regular weekly column entitled “All Psyched Up” for newspapers in two Canadian provinces for more than a dozen years...