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Sticking to Your New Years Resolutions: Ten Tips for a More Organized Life

1. A calendar is an essential organizing tool ? start the year with one that works for you! And whether you use a paper or electronic version, using Post-it? notes as reminders will help you "stick" to your resolutions.

2. Identify a specific goal for getting or keeping in shape ? 10 minutes a day (yes, professional trainers say a small amount of time can make a big difference!) or three times a week. Share your commitment with someone else ? a professional trainer or a friend -- that also wants to exercise more.

3. Take steps to make it easier to eat healthy. Keep a shopping list of healthy food, and make sure there is always good food easily available. Whenever possible, go to restaurants that specialize in healthy food, but when you can't, order a baked potato instead of French fries. If you eat junk food for lunch, forgive yourself, and plan a healthy dinner.

4. Design a yearly plan for spending time with family and friends. Booking airline travel well in advance will save money and ensure your commitment to your plan. Plan a once-a-month event with friends. Keep a Post-it? Note list in your calendar or on your computer of the potential invitees.

5. Plan a yearly budget. Learning to controlling the way you spend your money is a lifetime investment. If you're not sure how, check out your local college for a continuing education or start reading on the subject. The longer you wait to learn, the more difficult it will be.

6. Make a commitment to volunteer your services to an organization that makes other people's lives better. One evening or Saturday a month won't take a lot of time out of your life, but can make a big difference to someone else. Make it a family activity.

7. To minimize the stress of daily family life, and make it easier to put things away when company is coming, put all like things together ? e.g., photos, bills, love letters and give- always ? and label them boldly. Post-it? provides a variety of colorful options. Store items according to where and how often you will use them.

8. Keep only those things that you know to be useful, think to be beautiful, or love. Put a box in an easily accessible place in your closet -- with the lid off, so you don't pile other things on top of it. Label it "Give Away" and donate the things you don't use to someone who needs them.

9. Establish an effective filing system at home and at work. File information according to how you will use it, not where you got it. Always keep Post-it? Notes handy, and jot down key words for filing papers as you accumulate them. This will save filing time later. Keep a File Index (a list of the names of your files) handy, so you won't make a file for "car" when you already have "auto."

10. Don't expect perfection from yourself in carrying out your New Year's resolutions. Remember you are in this for the long run. Use Post-it? notes to remind yourself of your commitments, and have the best year ever!

? Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com

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