“Ready for what” you might ask? At any given time you could be prepared for various things – the need to adjust or even make abrupt changes – those things that life inevitably demands. While there are times that any change, even minor adjustments, can be overwhelming. This is part of life – whether we like or accept it. A valuable skill to develop is to learn to recognize what we can and cannot handle – at least at certain points in time, since this too shifts with different variables.
Therefore for this moment – are you ready to work at getting organized? And it most definitely can be work. When we let things slide or we never learned the skills to develop and maintain an organized environment, it takes time and effort to bring your spaces into order. As FlyLady says, the state of your home didn’t happen overnight and it can’t be fixed overnight – whatever the actual state of things in your own spaces.
And to be blunt, just because you are frustrated and overwhelmed doesn’t automatically mean that you are “ready.” And equally, it doesn’t mean that you’re not “ready.” There are “Stages of Change” or “Stages of Readiness” people have identified that we all move through and among – along our individual paths. These apply to any changes we want or need to make in our life – from getting organized to any other changes we want to implement.
- Pre-contemplation/ Initial Rumblings
- Contemplation/ Identifying Possibilities
- Preparation/ Reaching Out
- Action/ Beyond Talking
- Maintenance/ Life Jolts (increase in commitment)
– first items are taken from “A ‘Stages of Change’ Approach to Helping Patients Change Behavior”; second items taken from ICD’s fact sheet, “Readiness for Change – Revised” (pdf link FS-010, second from the bottom of page)
Remember I also said we move among these stages – the idea of relapse – where we falter in making the progress we want, is moving to an earlier stage in the process. It’s completely normal and simply means you’ve encountered some additional challenges and can move back toward the progress you want – when you are ready.
Being “ready” isn’t a solitary, concrete event. It is moving through the process at your own pace, influenced by your life and experiences. It’s all about you and where you are at within these stages. Making changes is challenging – even when we desperately want to make them – hence that it is “work.” Also it is rarely a straight line – making consistent, steady progress from the moment you begin to developing the skills in maintaining the change you’ve identified. If you think about any change you have made and even those you set out to change – what was that process like for you? Likely, it was challenging – it took time and effort – especially initially. It quite probably required learning new skills, or how to apply other skills in new ways.
One of the best things you can do for yourself – as you embark on making changes, even with getting organized – is to give yourself permission to be exactly where you are in the process. You will likely not be right where you are now as time passes – moving through the stages doesn’t necessarily require that you “work” those stages, they can happen naturally. Lasting change comes from within – your own motivation or where you are within the process of making changes you’ve personally identified – and being patient with the process.
Wherever you are in the process, whatever changes you want to make – you can begin anytime. Waiting until you are solidly in an “action” stage isn’t required. Although you can also wait until you are ready for taking action. There is no one right answer – it’s about you and what will work for you. And it never hurts to find support as you embark on the process of making changes – whatever that support looks like.
These Stages of Change can provide you with a framework for how we all process. This outline also doesn’t address other complicating factors, which I’ll talk about soon. It does illustrate what is typical for all of us – it’s not as simple as flipping a switch and presto things are fixed. If only it were that easy. Hopefully it will encourage you to be gentle with yourself as you strive to make changes – whether that’s getting organized or whatever other changes you want to make. Truly it is simply part of the process – even when it’s annoying – it’s still “normal.”
What changes do you want to make? Where are you in the process? Are you taking action?