As I write this, I’m taking a break from the major reorganization project that’s going on in the lower level of my home. As I mentioned in my last post, we’re changing the functions of the four major areas of our lower level—my office, Jay’s office, the storage closet and our family room. This means a lot of stuff is moving around, getting decluttered and organized.

This also means that there’s lots of time for my mind to wander as I’m sorting things and schlepping belongings from one room to another. This week’s lightbulb moment:

What we want most, is often just on the other side of something we don’t want to do.

This project is actually something I want to do. For many of my clients, it wouldn’t be. For them it would be incredibly difficult to navigate through because moving nearly every single item on one level of your home is messy business—and the mess can be pretty overwhelming. (Most of my family members have been avoiding our lower level as much as possible during this process.)  And yet, on the other side of this mess sits something my whole family really wants:  a new TV area and a nice open space fit for a ping-pong table. Good stuff.

This phenomenon of something you want sitting on the other side of something you don’t want doesn’t just apply to organizing. Often, when we want something different we have to navigate ourselves through some pretty uncomfortable territories. For example, finding a new job can require tasks that make you feel extremely vulnerable—sending out resumes, networking, negotiating salaries, and so on. Figuring out strategies to deal with it, to motivate yourself to take action anyway will come in handy throughout your life. Here’s some ideas to try:

  1. Recall what has worked for you in the past in other areas of your life. If you’re stuck and can’t get motivated to organize, even though you really want to, think back to the last time you did something that was uncomfortable to you. How did you muster up the courage to apply for that dream job? What steps did you take to complete your first 5K? What has worked before in a different area of your life is a great starting point for jumping your next hurdle.
  2. What’s the worst thing that could happen if you do that thing you really don’t want to do? Often, the tasks we dread aren’t as scary in the real world as they are in our minds. Write down what’s holding you back and then decide if the risk is worth the reward.
  3. What great things will you get to enjoy if you do that thing you really don’t want to do? Write down your answer to that question and don’t hold back. Make as long of a list as possible because these benefits are what will fuel your motivation to move forward despite the discomfort of that icky task that’s standing in your way.

Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear what you really want and what is holding you back from obtaining it. Then, share some of your insights from questions 1 through 3. Maybe your ideas will motivate someone else to move past something that’s standing in their way. Thanks for sharing!


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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.

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