How would you rather feel?


Do you have trouble deciding whether, what, when, or how to create a new goal, habit or resolution?







Ask yourself: How do I feel now? How would I rather feel? What can I do next to get there? (You know the answer. Do it!) Click To Tweet

When I was working in person with organizing clients, the first thing I’d ask for is a tour of their home. Even if their primary concern was a cluttered kitchen, or office, or garage, I wanted to get a sense of what else was going on there, and who they were as a person. I did not make trouble where there was none — what looks like clutter to me is not necessarily a problem for you — but sometimes they would volunteer frustrations to add to our list of future projects. And sometimes I would notice something — extra space, storage bins, unused furniture or decor — that would be useful for the project at hand.

Back to the primary room of concern, I would ask them: WHAT is your goal for this space? Guests, hobbies, work, exercise. Everyone’s goals are different. And: WHY now? Empty nest, company coming, working from home now. There are no wrong answers, as long as they are YOUR answers and not someone else’s.

Then I would ask: How does this space make you FEEL? Overwhelmed, embarrassed, sad, claustrophobic, unfocused, stuck. And: How would you rather FEEL in this space? Productive, happy, calm, peaceful, motivated, comfortable.

As we worked together, I would use their own goals and words to gently guide them in their decisions. “What if we renamed this room from ‘Pit of Doom’ or ‘Junk Room’ to ‘Suzi’s Studio?’ (It’s a made-up client name, but a common goal, ‘studio’ being applicable to arts and crafts, music, yoga, and other creative and soul-nourishing pursuits.) Could we store these ______ somewhere else, to create more space for ________? Are these ______ going to help you meet your goal of _______? Now that we see how many _______ you have, how many of them do you think you need to keep?

Resolutions and goals

I’m sucker for articles about New Year’s resolutions, motivational words and phrases for the year, goal setting, and habit forming. And I’m equally attracted to articles about why resolutions don’t work, why we shouldn’t call them that, and about how we don’t need that kind of pressure. LOL? I’m a Gemini, what can I say?

If it’s the former you are looking for, behold this very comprehensive post by my friend and colleague Julie Bestry: Organize Your Annual Review & Mindset Blueprint for 2023. And here is a whole Org4life Resource Roundup of my own past blogs and curated articles: New Year & Goal Setting Resource Roundup

But, really, doesn’t it all come down to this?

How do you feel now?

How would you rather feel?

What can you do to get there?

(You know the answer. Do it!)

Identifying the problem and deciding to do something about it is the first, most important, step in accomplishing any goal.

Do what works for YOU

There are lots of ways to reach a goal, and not every goal-reaching-Rx works for everyone. If you’re into journaling, scheduling, vision-boarding, tracking, and rewards — by all means, do that!

But if that’s not you, you have my permission to not do any of those things. For example, it is very helpful for some — but not as much for others — to share one’s goals and progress with a friend or accountability partner, or to post them on social media.

Start with one thing

Maybe you feel discomfort in more than one area of your life — physical health, mental health, relationships, finances, accomplishments, to name a few — ?

Go ahead and make a wish list and review it periodically. Monthly works for me. There’s nothing magic about the New Year. But it does feel like magic to some, including me. So does my birthday and back-to-school time.

Then choose one area to work on, for starters, like my clients and I used to do. If your goal is to improve your physical health, and you want to start walking every day (like I have not been doing and intend — resolve? — to start doing again), well that’s an ongoing thing, and once you’ve established the habit it will be easier to layer on another challenge. (I would tackle another room with a client once the primary room of concern was decluttered, and organized, and they knew how to maintain it.) If you change too many things at once you are more likely to become overwhelmed and give up. Right?

Sound good?


How do YOU feel, and how would you RATHER feel?

What are you going to do about it?

Share with us in the comments below!

(If you feel like it.)


Copyright 2022 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life and Beyond
Author of What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy
Please contact me for reprint permission. (Direct links to this page are welcome!)

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  1. Julie Bestry on December 31, 2022 at 1:23 am

    First of all, what a delightful surprise to find my blog post referenced in your post! Thank you for sharing it with your readers, Hazel!

    Second, you’re so right. Too often they (our clients) and we, in our own lives, are too focused to step back and get a sense of things. How do we feel? How do we want to feel? What’s the bridge to getting there? Cross it (i.e., do the thing!). So simple, and yet almost everyone needs a partner in crossing that bridge, baby step by baby step, until it’s habit. Thanks for the excellent reminder!

  2. Hazel Thornton on December 31, 2022 at 9:13 am

    I like the bridge visual! Thanks for that, for your blog post, and for your comment, Julie. Happy New Year!

  3. Seana Turner on January 2, 2023 at 11:07 am

    Okay, your tag at the very end made me laugh out loud!!

    Love the idea of recasting a space or goal with words. It really can make a huge difference.

    I think I would like to feel more energized in the morning when I wake up. I’m not sure how to get this, as I’m pretty consistent with my bedtime. So, still working on that one.

    I’d also like to feel more calm. My mind is always swirling with many things, so I’m going to try and do a bit more meditation to give my brain a break.

    I’ll keep thinking. The way you phrased this makes it easy.

    • Hazel Thornton on January 2, 2023 at 11:23 am

      Ha ha, glad I made you laugh and think, Seana! Feel free to report back on your progress. Happy New Year!

  4. Janet Barclay on January 2, 2023 at 12:52 pm

    It really can be that simple, can’t it? It really comes down to focusing on the area you most want to change and trying not to let the others get to you in the meantime. While working on the first area, you can pay attention to the others and possibly make note of specific things you can work on when you’re ready.

  5. Hazel Thornton on January 2, 2023 at 1:08 pm

    Exactly! No need to do everything at once, but it never hurts to have a running list of do-able things handy for when you’re ready! (Yes, I just said the same thing you did, because it was good. LOL!) Happy New Year, Janet!

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What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy

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Go With the Flow! (The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook)

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Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror


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