Some of the things I decided I wanted to do this year was walk away from my computer when the kids come home from school, keep a cleaner house, and pay more attention to my kids. We're three weeks into 2010, and I've not had a perfect record, but I'm really amazed at the progress I've made.
First, I changed a couple of habits. For one, I cut out a lot of stuff. In a way, losing my old computer helped; I didn't have a lot of garbage calling to me and I was able to start anew on my schedule. So for my writing day, I've set aside the morning two hours for writing--then walk the dog and check e-mail at lunch, then the afternoon hours for projects--a specific one per day, rather than bunches of small ones throughout the week.
Next, I thought small. I broke down big projects into small steps and will allow myself to make as much progress as I can instead of pressuring myself to get it all done. This is especially true of housework, which comes to my next point:
I looked for outside help. In the case of the house, I enrolled in flylady.com. She helps homemakers break down the upkeep of their house into small steps. Now she has a lot of stuff you can do, including control journals and other things. Me, I just wanted the daily routine and the "Kelly's Missions" that break deep cleaning into 15-minute daily chores. Two things in the routine have made an amazing difference:
Daily Laundry: Usually, I saved my laundry--six loads--for the weekend. With six in the family, I dealt with huge piles and had full baskets for the kids which often didn't get put away or were shoved haphazardly into drawers. With a load a day, I'm doing a few more loads, but things get put away more regularly because it doesn't look as intimidating. Also Rob had clean pants every day without worry!
"Swish and Swipe": Each day, I take a rag and wipe down the bathroom sink and then the toilet and run a brush over the inside. Takes two minutes, but it makes a difference. I knew I got annoyed at the toothpaste buildup, but never realized how much of a difference it made to not see it each day.
I talked to the family, and we all agreed to do 5- to 10-minute chores instead of fussing for a couple of hours on the weekend over the chores. Each day, I give them a short chore--wipe the light switches, vacuum just one room. Weekends, they clean their room. And they each have a "swish and swipe" duty--the older have their bathrooms, the little ones straighten up the living room. The house is a lot cleaner and we're a lot less stressed.
Even if this is as far as I get this year toward my goals, I'm proud of the progress I've made with just a few changes and some determination.