We’re more than one month into the new year, which got me thinking about my new year’s resolution. I personally have never been big on making a new year’s resolution but this year I thought of one that would make me extremely happy to achieve–decluttering! I’ve always been a bit of a pack rat, so the idea of decluttering isn’t really new. Previous attempts to clean out my house have never worked because I would get overwhelmed by trying to knock it all out over a long-weekend. I needed to have a better plan if my resolution was going to be successful and decided this would be a great time to lean into my Strengths. (If you’re unfamiliar with CliftonStrengths, check out the “About” section of my website.) Here are a few tips that could help you use your own Strengths to meet your goals, whether it’s a new year or not:
- Consider how achieving your goal relates to your natural talents. Obviously I don’t have a natural talent for getting rid of things, or I wouldn’t have to set a goal around it! However, I do have two themes that I love and that I get pulled away from using when I see the mail piling up on the kitchen counter, or have too many sticky notes strewn about my desk. Decluttering would minimize those distractions and allow me to spend more time using my Ideation and Learner themes to think, explore, and create. Ask yourself–How would achieving this goal allow me to do more of what I love, be more of who I am, or live the life I truly want?
- Decide how you’ll track progress. The 34 Strengths are all rooted in research on success, but each theme can look at progress differently. People who have the Relator theme high might like to have an accountability partner to share their next steps with and report to regularly. People with Activator high are great at starting things, so chunking large goals into smaller goals will likely be important for them. For me, I tapped into my Responsibility talent by using a habit tracker to monitor whether or not I’m meeting my expectation which I call the “Tidy 10”–spending 10 minutes a day cleaning out something like a drawer, a shelf in a closet, or old files. Consider how you like to monitor progress and incorporate that into your plan.
- Figure out how you can maximize one of your themes to make your goal more fluid or even fun. For me, I amped up my Relator theme by partnering with my husband to spend one hour every Sunday cleaning up or clearing out. We work in the same space so that we can talk and joke around, and the hour goes by in a flash. If you want to lean into your Restorative theme you could start each week by asking, “What’s a problem I can address this week?” Or for those with Arranger, you may want to look at your schedule each morning to determine what needs to be shifted so that you can squeeze in the next step in your goal. Think about each of your dominant themes and ask how they can help you achieve your goals in a way that feels comfortable and natural.
Finally, regardless of what your dominant themes are, remember that you are human. Take off the pressure to meet your goal with perfection. Instead, acknowledge the progress that you make and appreciate how your Strengths can work for you.